“WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — A remote-controlled underwater camera may have found the source of a leak of radioactive water from the spent-fuel pool at the Indian Point 2 nuclear power plant, the plant’s owner said Thursday.
The video camera found what could be rust spots near a joint in the steel lining of the pool, said Jim Steets, a spokesman for Entergy Nuclear Northeast. The discoloration was seen at depths ranging from 16 to 22 feet.
In August, during an excavation project, the company discovered slightly radioactive water on the outside of the underground wall of the spent fuel pool. The 40-foot-deep pool holds the highly radioactive fuel assemblies that have been used in the nuclear reactor in Buchanan.
Concern grew last month after low levels of tritium, a radioactive isotope, were found in water at the bottom of six sampling wells on the Indian Point property. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission tightened its oversight of Indian Point.
At the time, Entergy said it could not be sure that the water on the outside of the pool was from a new leak or had remained in the ground after the repair of a previous leak. The new video findings, however, show “a potential fault very suggestive of being the source of the leak,” Steets said. He said the location is consistent with where the water is seen on the outside part of the wall.
Steets said a diver _ protected from the radioactivity in the pool _ would slip into the pool next week to place a “vacuum box” on the discolored area. The box would suck water from the area and would draw in material from outside the pool if there is a leak, Steets said.
Repairs might entail a new coating or new welding, Steets said. Meanwhile, the inspection undertaken to find any leak is only one-third complete, he said.
Earlier Thursday, representatives of several political leaders, including Sen. Hillary Clinton and Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano, were given a tour of Indian Point to see how the company was working on the leak. Several politicians had criticized Entergy for not reporting the leak sooner.
Rep. Nita Lowey said afterward that the visit “could be an indication of a more open dialogue between the plant operators and the community but I remain concerned about how this situation was handled from the beginning.””