NRC Eyes Penalties for NY Nuclear Plant

BUCHANAN, NEW YORK - The owner of the Indian Point nuclear power plants near New York City could face penalties for not keeping close enough tabs on minute amounts of radioactive material, federal regulators said.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it was considering "whether to take enforcement action" against Indian Point owner Entergy Nuclear for missing inventory checks on some tiny amounts of uranium-235. They were contained in detectors once used to measure the power of the plants' two nuclear reactors.

Entergy is already facing the possibility of daily fines for what the NRC sees as a missed deadline for a new emergency siren system.

The detectors were stored in 1989, a dozen years before Entergy bought Indian Point. A locked container that held the detectors at Indian Point had gone without required annual checks for at least five years, NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said.

Specialists recently opened the container and found the contents were in order.

The NRC raised the possibility of fines over the siren system last week. Entergy had announced that the new system was up and ready two days before an August 24 deadline. But the sirens had not yet been tested and approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The NRC said possible penalties for could include fines of up to $130,000 a day.

Entergy promised to have a new system in place by January, but then requested and received an extension to April 15. It missed that deadline and was fined $130,000.

Indian Point is just 35 miles north of New York City, and the warning system is designed to alert people in the heavily populated suburbs nearby to any emergency.


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