“A small amount of slightly radioactive water has leaked from the spent-fuel pool at the Indian Point 2 nuclear power plant in Westchester, officials said yesterday.
Spokesmen for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and for plant owner Entergy Nuclear Northeast said the water was found several feet underground and posed no danger to the public or to plant workers.
Less than a pint a day has been collected since the water was spotted in late August, and soil samples show no radioactivity a few feet away, they said.
“We see nothing at this point that indicates any widespread contamination,” commission spokesman Neil Sheehan said.
He said there was “nothing to the extent that anyone exposed to it would suffer any severe health effects.”
Nevertheless, the NRC launched a special inspection, he said.
Indian Point’s critics said the leak was another indication that the plant should be closed.
The 40-foot-deep pool, which has a steel liner, holds the highly radioactive fuel assemblies used in the nuclear reactor. The rods of fuel are submerged to shield them from the air, and the water in the pool becomes slightly radioactive.
The pool remained structurally sound, with the water found along hairline cracks outside its walls during an excavation and reinforcement project, Entergy spokesman Jim Steets said.
The pool often has been criticized by opponents of the two Indian Point plants in Buchanan, 35 miles north of midtown Manhattan, not because of leaks but because they say it is not protected well enough from an air attack.
Lisa Rainwater, spokeswoman for the environmental group Riverkeeper, said the leak shows “that neither the federal government nor Entergy is capable of protecting the public from a potential radioactive release from Indian Point.”
State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester), another longtime Indian Point critic, said, “This continues a pattern of people telling us everything is fine when it’s not.””
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