Missing bolts and “nuclear reactor” are words one generally does not want in the same sentence. However, when more than one quarter of the bolts inside an atomic reactor core go missing, the risk and concern multiply. Listen to this breaking news Fairewinds Energy Education podcast of a formal press conference hosted by Friends of the Earth regarding its Emergency Petition to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to Prohibit Restart of Indian Point Unit 2 and Inspect Indian Point Unit 3.
This is the conference call recording of an official joint press release.
In this press conference you’ll hear Damon Moglen, Sr. Strategic Advisor with Friends of the Earth, Attorney Richard Ayers, Founder of the the Ayers Law Group, Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer with Fairewinds Associates, and David Freeman, former chair of the NY Power Authority, the prior owner of Indian Point Unit 3, and an advisor to Friends of the Earth.
At the source you will find materials to download as well – with the visuals it’s not hard to see how potentially dangerous this situation is and in fact they make no bones about it on the press release.
As per the materials:
Indian Point Units 2 and 3 are Westinghouse pressurized water reactors. Each reactor contains hundreds of baffle-former bolts, which are stainless steel bolts approximately 5/8” in diameter and 2” long that hold the baffle plates to the former plates to form the baffle/former assembly. The baffle/former assembly forms the interface between the reactor core and the reactor core barrel, as shown in Figure 1, below.
The bolts have a number of important safety – related functions. The baffles provide a barrier between the reactor core and theformer to direct coolant flow through the reactor core. The bolts also provide lateral support to the reactor core during an earthquake or a loss – of-coolant accident and reduce neutron flux on the vessel, as shown in Figure 2, below.