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NY Nuke Plant Offline for Transformer Repairs

Thu, 03/01/2012 - 4:52am
JIM FITZGERALD, Associated Press

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — The Indian Point 3 nuclear power plant was disconnected Wednesday from the electrical grid after combustible gases built up in a transformer.

Plant owner Entergy Northeast and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said there was no release of radioactivity and no threat to workers or the public.

The company said the transformer takes electricity from the main generator and changes the voltage to power some pumps and motors at the plant.

NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said operators saw that gases were building up in the transformer on Tuesday. Because the transformer has to be disconnected to be repaired, they began powering down the reactor at about 1 a.m. Wednesday and removed it from the grid at about 4:30 a.m.

"They're being ultra-cautious about this," Sheehan said. "They've had problems with transformers before."

In November 2010, an explosion in a transformer caused a 17-day shutdown of Indian Point 2, the other reactor at the site in Buchanan, about 35 miles from Manhattan.

Entergy is fighting for new 20-year licenses for the two reactors, which would keep them running into the 2030s. New York state is opposing the request.

Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi said the plant should be back online sometime this weekend, after the pumps and motors are switched to a different transformer.

Entergy said Indian Point 3's last shutdown was in April. Indian Point 2 was operating at full power Wednesday.

Indian Point 1 was mothballed in the 1970s.

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