Revised Quake Estimates Pose Costly Analyses for Many Nuclear Reactors

"WASHINGTON — Owners of at least two dozen nuclear reactors across the United States, including the operator of Indian Point 2, in Buchanan, N.Y., have told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that they cannot show that their reactors would withstand the most severe earthquake that revised estimates say they might face, according to industry experts.

As a result, the reactors’ owners will be required to undertake extensive analyses of their structures and components. Those are generally sturdier than assumed in licensing documents, but owners of some plants may be forced to make physical changes, and are likely to spend about $5 million each just for the analysis.

Richard S. Drake, a structural engineer with Entergy, which owns Indian Point 2 and 3, north of New York City, said the plants had far thicker concrete and steel than the minimum required. Thus, he said, they could probably withstand far bigger challenges than their licenses specified."

Matthew L. Wald reports for the New York Times April 5, 2014.

Monday, April 7, 2014