In the midst of reports that Hurricane Irene will bring winds as strong as and 46 miles per hour in Buchanan, where is located, the nuclear power plant is preparing for the worst, says IPEC spokesperson Jerry Nappi. Control room operators and staff have been going through emergency response and safety procedures that take them through a shut down of the plant.
“If there are 100 miles per hour sustained wins within 320 miles from the plant we will being assessing whether to begin to reduce power with the intention of going off line,” Nappi said.
Indian Point’s storm monitors are tracking the Hurricane on an hourly basis
If the power plant is shut down about 2 million people in southern New York would be without Indian Point generated power, as the power plant provides about 25 percent of New York City and Westchester's power. It could take a few days, a week or more for IPEC to go back online. The shut down reduces the water pressure, normally kept at 2200 pounds per square inch, which decreases the temperature of the water. Nappi says whether they shut down the plant or not the hurricane proposes very little risk.
“The preparation for the shut down is done out of an abundance of caution. It’s significant is that we take precautionary measure in the event of extreme environmental conditions.”
“If they shut it down then at least they are taking a step in the right direction,” said Ethan Kern a 27-year-old Peekskill resident. “But I don’t think anyone can feel safe being so close to something that is so dangerous.”
Indian Point operators and employees have also been taking other precautionary measures such as fastening down outside structures, taking in loose outdoor material, ensuring backup generators are operating properly and ensuring that water and fuel supplies are full.
Nappi said that safety related systems and equipment are housed in buildings that can withstand sustained winds of 162 mph.
With an expected rainfall of about 5 to 7 inches over the weekend, Nappi said that there is very little risk associated with water.
The power plants are at 15.5 feet above sea level and at a spot on the river where they’ve never seen any flooding on the site. They have pre-staged pumps that can operate underwater to pump water out. They also have sand bags and sand, purchased after the Japan in March of this year.
Should the plant need to shut down, Entergy officials will notify the media.
Stay tuned to Patch for the latest on Indian Point and Hurricane Irene.
Editor's Note: This article has been adjusted to reflect that IPEC provides 25 percent of Westchester and New York City's power.