UPDATE 3-Entergy shuts Indian Point reactor after explosion

* Explosion on main transformer forces Unit 2 to shut

* No injuries reported at Indian Point

* Vermont Yankee plant also shut due to pipe leakage

(Adds comment from NRC, traders and background, changes
dateline pvs BANGALORE)

By Scott DiSavino

NEW YORK, Nov 8 (BestGrowthStock) – An explosion on the main
transformer has forced Entergy Corp (ETR.N: ) to shut its
1,020-megawatt Unit 2 at the Indian Point nuclear power plant
in New York on Sunday, the company’s second reactor shutdown in
the same night.

Entergy also shut its 605-MW nuclear plant in Vernon,
Vermont due to a system pipe leakage. The reactor is known to
have leaked tritium earlier this year and the Vermont Senate
has voted to shut the plant in 2012. [ID:nSGE6A701X]

There were no casualties or injuries associated with
Sunday evening’s explosion at the Indian Point reactor and no
resulting fire, a company spokesman said.

Electricity traders noted prices in the U.S. northeast
region were much higher than expected on Monday due to the
unexpected shutdown of the two reactors and the increased
heating demand.

Officials at Indian Point could not immediately say whether
the transformer could be fixed or needed to be replaced and
whether there was a spare transformer at the site.

Electricity traders guessed it would take about a week for
the unit to return to service if there is a spare transformer
on the site. It could take several weeks if a transformer had
to be brought in.

Other plants have run at reduced power with a transformer
down but officials at Entergy could not immediately say what
they would do with Indian Point.

Company spokesman Jim Steets said an electrical problem set
off the explosion and workers have begun inspecting the
equipment.

Sunday’s explosion, which took place at about 6:30 p.m.
Eastern Time (2330 GMT), holds no danger of a radiation leak,
he added.

“The plant safely shut down automatically,” Steets said.
“The plants system responded well to the shutdown.”

Neil Sheehan, spokesman at the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission, said at both plants Entergy did all they were
expected to do to safely shut the plants. There was no release
of radiation at either site and no injuries.

While the company has not named the substance leaked out of
the feedwater system piping at the Vermont Yankee plant, some
media outlets reported the water to have low levels of
radioactive elements.

The company, however, did not immediately return calls
seeking comments on the Vermont plant.

These shutdowns come at a bad time for Entergy.

The company is already facing strong local opposition to
its quest to renew both plants’ reactor licenses and is facing
a civil investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into
the way its utilities operate their transmission system and
power plants in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas.

Entergy has been plagued by several problems in relation to
its older, inefficient power plants.

Independent power producers and small municipal utilities
have complained for a decade about how Entergy controls access
to its 15,000-mile (24,000-km) transmission system, alleging
the company has avoided upgrading its grid network.
(Reporting by Antonita Madonna Devotta in Bangalore and Scott
DiSavino in New York; Additional reporting by Ratul Ray
Chaudhuri in Bangalore; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Marguerita
Choy)

UPDATE 3-Entergy shuts Indian Point reactor after explosion