Baffle Former Plate Issue a Non-Issue at Indian Point

Hysterical critics of IPEC tried to make a big issue out of some corroded bolts.  Entergy replaced the bolts and "the NRC concluded the reactor was safe to operate."

Indian Point Unit 2 – During its 2016 spring refueling outage, while performing inspections adhering to the standards of MRP-227-A, the licensee discovered baffle-former bolt degradation issues.  During this review it was determined that 227 of 832 baffle-former bolts inspected at the plant were potentially degraded (these bolts either had ultrasonic (UT) indication of cracking, visual defects such as a missing bolt head or cracked locking tab weld, or were inaccessible for UT).  

The licensee (Entergy) replaced the potentially degraded bolts along with an additional 51 bolts to provide further margin for baffle plate structural integrity and to allow for testing of bolts that are considered to be non-degraded.  Entergy and the NRC also assessed any implications for Indian Point Unit 3 (the currently operating unit).  Entergy has reported that Indian Point Unit 3 is believed to be less susceptible to the baffle-former bolt degradation condition for several reasons – less operational time, resulting in less irradiation of the bolt material; fewer thermal cycles, resulting in less cumulative fatigue on the Unit 3 baffle-former bolts; and slightly lower differential pressure across the baffle plates.

Indian Point Unit 2 returned to service in late June.  Prior to the unit's restart, the NRC conducted an independent evaluation of the analysis done for Entergy on how many new bolts had to be installed to maintain safety margins and ensure the structural integrity of the baffle-former plates.  The agency also had specialist inspectors at the plant for first-hand observations and information-gathering on bolt-removal and -replacement activities.  Based on those reviews, the NRC concluded the reactor was safe to operate until at least its next refueling outage.  Refueling outages take place once every 18 to 24 months and the bolts will be subject to further inspections. (NRC)