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Riverkeeper appeals NRC decision to transfer Indian Point’s license to Holtec

Ossining, NY — Riverkeeper has filed an appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, challenging the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s indefensible decision to approve the license transfer of the Indian Point Energy Center to Holtec International without a public hearing. In doing so, the NRC rejected hearing requests from Riverkeeper, the New York Attorney General, and the towns closest to Indian Point. In its appeal, Riverkeeper contends that the NRC license transfer approval must be reversed because it is in violation of the Atomic Energy Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and NRC’s own regulations and policies.

Riverkeeper demanded the NRC reject the proposed license transfer because of Holtec’s highly dubious track record of bribes, lies, and risk taking, as demonstrated by our filings with the NRC, submitted on February 12, 2020 and October 27, 2020, respectively. For example, Holtec bribed an official at the Tennessee Valley Authority to obtain a contract, then lied about that episode to the State of New Jersey to obtain $260M in tax breaks. The NRC claimed that Riverkeeper’s concerns had no connection to the transfer request because the past bad actions were not committed by the specific subsidiaries slated to hold the licenses. This sets an impossible standard for review, since the subsidiaries were newly established specifically for this venture and therefore have no track record at all. It ignores the established pattern of transgressions by the parent company Holtec International and its other subsidiaries. The NRC is required to examine the character of proposed licensees, therefore the NRC’s decision to dismiss the contentions without holding a hearing on these issues is contrary to law.

Riverkeeper’s appeal, filed on March 3, 2021, follows a similar suit filed by New York State Attorney General Letitia James on January 22, 2021.

Riverkeeper’s Director of Legal Program’s Richard Webster said: “Once again, the NRC has deferred to industry to clear a path for Holtec to obtain a license transfer, ignoring the many legitimate concerns raised by the Riverkeeper, the State and the local communities. The NRC has refused to examine the issues, brushing aside Holtec’s history of lies, bribes, and risk taking by claiming a lack of connection between these past actions to the new Holtec subsidiaries when they are all controlled by Holtec. To accept the NRC’s reasoning would essentially allow Holtec, or any other company, to erase its past offenses from consideration by simply creating a new business entity.”


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