Indian Point’s Unit 2 reactor was back to full power over the weekend following a three-day shutdown while workers addressed an issue with a generator on the non-nuclear side of the power plant.
Unit 2 resumed generating power Friday afternoon and was at full power Saturday morning after a shutdown that began Tuesday, according to Jerry Nappi, a spokesman for Indian Point’s owner, Entergy.
Entergy decided to power down Unit 2, one of two working reactors at Indian Point, as a precautionary measure when workers noticed an excitation system which provides the current needed to create electricity, was not functioning properly, Nappi said.
“Upon investigation it was determined that a wired connection inside the system was loose, which resulted in sending a false signal indicating an electrical problem within the generator,” Nappi said. “In reality, there was no issue. Engineers made repairs and tested the system before returning the unit to service.”
Nappi said the workers’ concern was unrelated to two unplanned shutdowns of the reactor, which took place last month.
In each shutdown, inspectors with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission were alerted. No safety or reactor performance concerns were identified, according to NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan.
“One of our Resident Inspectors assigned to Indian Point was in the Unit 2 control room on Friday to observe power ascension activities and the plant’s resynch to the grid,” Sheehan said.
Unit 2’s multiple shutdowns came while the plant’s Unit 3 reactor was down for its biennial maintenance and refueling.
It was the first time in 10 years the plant was not generating power used to create electricity for homes and businesses in Westchester County and New York City.
An investigation by The Journal News/lohud found that during the March shutdown, natural gas filled the energy gap left by the elimination of Indian Point’s contribution to the state’s electrical grid.
Entergy plans to shut down Unit 2 for good next year while Unit 3 will shut down in 2021.
By Thomas C. Zambito