FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 14, 2012
Jessica Azulay, Alliance for a Green Economy (315) 480-1515
Tim Judson, Citizens Awareness Network (315) 415-3005
The shutdown yesterday of the Nine Mile Point 1 nuclear reactor because of a containment leak is the latest in a rash of shutdowns at one of the nation’s oldest nuclear plants.
Since July, Nine Mile Point Unit 1 has been forced to shut down four times because of safety or equipment problems. As compared with other reactors around the country, this is an alarming number of failures. Yesterday, the reactor was manually shutdown by Constellation because of a leak in the containment. The containment is built to protect the public from radiation exposure. Nine Mile Point is located just outside the city of Oswego, on the shore of lake Ontario.
The latest problem at Nine Mile Point 1 comes after three emergency automatic shutdowns between July and December, six times the industry average for emergency shutdowns for the whole year of 2011, according to data compiled by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Additionally, Nine Mile Point has an ongoing tritium leak, the source of which has yet to be found by the operator.
The reactor also had more emergency shutdowns than average in 2011 and 2010.
“Overall, we are quite disturbed by the news coming from Nine Mile,” said Jessica Azulay, an organizer with Alliance for a Green Economy. “As a nuclear reactor ages, you would expect to see more equipment breakdowns. But you would also hope to see the utility and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission working harder to prevent serious problems. Given how many emergency and automatic shutdowns we’re seeing with this reactor, it looks like prevention isn’t happening and things aren’t getting fixed until a problem gets so serious that the reactor automatically shuts itself down or has to be shut down unexpectedly.”
An investigation into the nation’s aging nuclear reactors by the Associated Press last year found that instead of tightening regulations and enforcement, the NRC is weakening regulations and enforcement in order to help the industry continue operating.