As part of its ongoing effort to close Indian Point and bring earthquake risk, evacuation and other relevant operational issues to light in the plant’s relicensing hearing, Riverkeeper presented its emergency petition on fuel cladding to the NRC review board via a teleconference.
Last month, Riverkeeper filed an enforcement petition with the NRC requesting that the federal regulator order Entergy, the owner of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, to reduce the power levels of both Unit 2 and Unit 3 reactors, to reduce the risk of a catastrophic meltdown in a reactor accident.
The current tests that simulate how the fuel rods are supposed to cool down in a loss-of-coolant accident that Entergy relies on are not conducted with zirconium alloy fuel rods–the actual type of fuel rods used in reactors. Those tests are conducted with metals that do not burn as much as zirconium alloy: that is like conducting crash tests with crash-resistant materials not used in actual cars.
During the call, Riverkeeper urged the NRC to immediately require Entergy to lower the fuel temperature in its reactors.
After concluding the presentation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission did not follow up with a single question.