N. y.: Old Problems at Indian Point

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Old Problems at Indian Point

BUCHANAN Friday, September 01, 2000 - 07:39 AM ET WCBS (AP) In the years before an accident at the Indian Point 2 nuclear plant, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission conducted inadequate plant inspections and relied on flawed analyses and inexperienced staff, an independent monitor has found.

Senior managers may have frowned upon tougher plant inspections for the sake of expediency and senior engineers treated the steam generators as low risk and low priority, according to a report by the Office of the Inspector General, which operates as an internal affairs department within the NRC.

The New York Times reported the findings Friday.

The plant, in Buchanan, N.Y., 35 miles north of Manhattan, was shut down in February when a steam generator tube ruptured and caused a radioactive leak.

The report was also critical of the plant's owner, Consolidated Edison, describing the utility as lacking a "commitment to excellence," with employees who sometimes did only "enough to get by," according to The Times.

Con Edison might have been able to prevent the accident had it not "missed the vast majority" of defects in the generators during a 1997 inspection, the report said.

A closer inspection of the generators, which were among the oldest of their kind in use, would probably have detected that a tube in one of them had corroded by almost 100 percent, the report said.

Con Edison also demonstrated chronic problems with emergency preparedness, even during scheduled drills, the report said.

The findings come three weeks after Con Edison announced that it would replace the generators before reopening the plant.

-- K (infosurf@yahoo.com), September 01, 2000

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