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Indian Point Takes Precautionary Measures

BUCHANAN—Hurricane Irene has prompted officials at Indian Point to take a variety of precautions, and could cause a shutdown of the plant if sustained winds in excess of 100 miles per hour reach the plant.

“So far as wind is concerned, we have tied down or secured or removed equipment that could be potentially problematic in high winds,” Jim Steets, Entergy spokesman said, “and from flooding we’re 15 feet above sea level, we’ve never seen flooding above seven feet.”

The plants also have backup diesel generators in the event of loss of outside power, and could begin shutting down the plant as a precautionary measure if winds become too violent. Operators have already refilled and tested diesel generators, making sure their tanks are to filled to capacity and are fully operational.

Indian Point has enough diesel fuel to last “at least seven days” according to another spokesman for Entergy, Jerry Nappi, in the event that outside power to the plant is lost. In another scenario, if the plant has nowhere to send its power during the storm the plant could shut down automatically.

“So think back to the blackout to 2003,” recalled Nappi, “there was nowhere to send the electricity in the region, so if we have nowhere to send the power the plant automatically shuts down.”

Some provisional sandbagging has already started at Indian Point, according to Steets, and extra sandbagging could take place if necessary. “The location of the plant on the Hudson River promotes drainage away from the plant, we’ve walked down all those areas,” he said about areas of the plant that could be affected by the storm, and “taken a variety of precautions.”

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