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Riverkeeper and Richard Brodsky release list of safety ‘exemptions’ granted to Indian Point

Riverkeeper and former Assembly member Richard Brodsky have released the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) response to their request for a complete list of exemptions granted to the Indian Point nuclear power plant to otherwise binding NRC safety regulations. This is the first list of the “exemptions” that the NRC has publicly released. They include exemptions to fire safety regulations. Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland) has asked for an explanation of the safety exemptions.

The NRC confirms that there are at least 43 exemptions, including those to fire safety requirements that protect the reactors ability to shut down in an emergency.

View the full list of fire safety exemptions, provided by the NRC

This week, it was revealed that water from an unknown source was found in the electrical supply room at Indian Point after the transformer failure occurred—that is, water in the location of electrical equipment that provides power to plant safety systems. It further heightens the alarm over the exemptions given to Indian Point by the NRC.

Brodsky and Riverkeeper have both responded after reviewing the NRC’s release of exemptions.

“The NRC has regularly and secretly permitted Indian Point to evade the strict standards of its own fire regulations. For example, the NRC regulations require that the electrical cables controlling an emergency reactor shutdown have physical insulation that lasts 60 minutes in a fire. But, in 2005, the NRC found that the insulation used at Indian Point would only last 27 minutes. Instead of requiring Indian Point to upgrade the cable to regulatory standards, it reset the limit to 24 minutes so that the plant would be in technical compliance. In other words, the NRC lowered the bar when it comes to nuclear power safety,” said Brodsky.

“This matter remains in litigation and is an example of how Indian Point consistently fails to meet the NRC’s own licensing and safety requirements. We look forward to the NRC’s response to Congresswoman Lowey’s call for a review of all such exemptions,” continued Brodsky.

“This most recent transformer accident highlights how substandard Indian Point’s fire protection program is. The NRC has granted Entergy dozens of exemptions. As a result, Indian Point operates without various technical measures and fail-safes. Fire safety is largely based on the trust that operators will take manual actions during critical events, and that we should count on their actions to save the day. This approach is illogical and simply not enough given what is at stake to the surrounding public and environment,” said Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay. “It’s time to close Indian Point, before Indian Point closes us.”

Indian Point exemptions

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