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NRC Denies Clearwater and Riverkeeper Contention

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Will not incorporate lessons from Fukushima into relicensing of Indian Point

The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board denied a contention to the relicensing of Indian Point that Riverkeeper and our partner organization, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, filed in August, 2011. The contention asserted that the NRC’s Environmental Impact Statement for the license renewal of Indian Point Units 2 and 3 fails to address the implications of the findings and recommendations raised in the July 2011 report by the agency’s Near-Term Task Force on Fukushima.

The NRC denied the contention, saying it implicates emergency planning issues, which are not properly part of license renewal review, and that other issues brought up by the contention would be “generically addressed.”

Manna Jo Greene, Clearwater’s environmental director commented, “Commissioner Jaczko is the only NRC Commissioner to raise serious concerns and recommend that the implication of Fukushima be addressed by any plant seeking relicensing on a site-specific basis. The other four Commissioners do not agree, but the limited steps the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is taking on a national basis are too generic to be effective – so this ruling leaves us without an adequate evaluation of severe accident mitigation at either the national level or on a case-specific basis.”

Entergy also argued against the admission of the contention, saying that the task force report on the Fukushima disaster was not a sufficient source of new information, and that the subject of the contention would soon be the source of rulemaking.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently fined Entergy $1.2 million for an oil spill following a second transformer explosion and fire in 2010 at Indian Point. “New York State is taking its responsibility to protect public health and safety seriously. The NRC seems to be more interested in assuring that nuclear power plants are relicensed than in taking a hard look at the implications of relicensing in the context of a post-Fukushima world,” said Riverkeeper’s Phillip Musegaas.

Riverkeeper will appeal the decision to the five-member, presidentially appointed Commission that oversees the NRC as well as continue to work on various fronts to hold the NRC answerable to the many questions raised by the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

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