(WASHINGTON) — The federal government is sending extra inspectors to nine different nuclear power plants in the path of Hurricane Sandy, including Three Mile Island and New York’s Indian Point, to make sure the plants are prepared.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says the extra inspectors will make sure “plant operators are making the proper preparations.” All plants already have two inspectors on site equipped with satellite phones.
In addition to Indian Point, which is north of New York City, and Three Mile Island, the Pennsylvania plant famous for a partial meltdown in 1979, the facilities to receive extra inspectors include the Salem, Hope Creek and Oyster Creek nuclear plants in southern New Jersey; Peach Bottom and Susquehanna in Pennsylvania, Calvert Cliffs in Maryland and Millstone in Connecticut.
“Nuclear power plant procedures require that the facilities be shut down prior to any projected hurricane-force winds on-site,” said the NRC.
The agency noted that the plants have emergency diesel generators are available if off-site power is lost during the storm. “Also, all plants have flood protection above the predicted storm surge,” said the NRC, “and key components and systems are housed in watertight buildings capable of withstanding hurricane-force winds and flooding.”
The NRC will be monitoring the storm from its Incident Response Center in King of Prussia, Pa., and from the Operations Center at agency’s headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, outside Washington. However, its headquarters and Northeast regional office are closed except for emergency personnel.
The Oyster Creek and Salem plants are close to where Sandy is expected to make landfall in Delaware and New Jersey late Monday, but their reactors have already been shut down for maintenance, as has the Susquehanna plant in Pennsylvania.
Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant released radioactivity in March 2011 after an earthquake and tsunami were followed by a meltdown.
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