Buchanan, New York–After soil and bedrock were removed from the floor of the Indian Point 2 fuel storage building as part of a reinforcement project currently underway in advance of the Indian Point Energy Center dry cask storage project, a small amount of moisture was seen on the newly exposed pool wall.
The moisture was found along two horizontal hairline cracks on the outside wall of the pool several feet below ground, inside the fuel storage building. The spent-fuel pool has four-to-six feet thick walls with a one-quarter inch stainless steel inner liner, and the fuel itself is entirely underground.
Says Geoffrey Schwartz, Entergy manager of Indian Point 2’s spent-fuel dry storage project, “Structural and civil engineers inspected the cracks and determined they are typical of cracks seen from shrinkage during post-construction concrete curing. The cracks do not weaken the wall and the pool is structurally sound.”
Entergy engineers this week have determined that the moisture came from the spent fuel pool, and may have come from a leak in the pool that was repaired in 1992. Radiological engineers and chemists report that trace amounts of radioactive cesium and cobalt were present in samples taken from the wall. Both are present in the spent-fuel pool.
There is no radiological hazard to workers or the public and the potential environmental impact is minimal. Soil samples taken three feet from the area where the moisture was detected showed normal background levels of radiation. Deep-depth core borings taken earlier as part of the dry cask storage project in six locations near the pool showed no elevated levels of radioactivity.
Entergy engineers and health physics technicians are continuing to analyze soil samples and will be monitoring the area around the fuel storage building in addition to the routine radiological monitoring done on a regular basis.
Removal of spent fuel from the pool to storage casks is scheduled to begin at the end of 2006.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been notified.