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Riverkeeper Files New Challenge to Nuclear Waste Storage at Indian Point

Contact: Tina Posterli, 516-526-9371, [email protected]

Joint contention with New York State and Clearwater will hold NRC accountable to address risks and impacts of Indian Point’s nuclear waste before relicensing decision can be made

Ossining, NY – July 9, 2012 – Riverkeeper has joined the New York State Attorney General and Hudson River Sloop Clearwater in filing a new contention with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in the Indian Point relicensing case. The challenge was filed in response to the June 8 ruling by the Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Washington which threw out the NRC’s “Waste Confidence Decision,” an agency rule that has allowed the NRC to relicense aging nuclear reactors without having to address the risks of storing highly radioactive spent fuel onsite until a permanent disposal solution is developed. The federal court ruling was in response to a lawsuit brought by Riverkeeper, the New York Attorney General and other states and environmental groups.

In this latest filing, Riverkeeper states that the final Environmental Impact Study for Indian Point violates federal environmental law, because it does not include an assessment of the impacts of storing thousands of tons of toxic nuclear waste onsite at Indian Point after the reactors shut down. In addition, the contention requests that the NRC Licensing Board judges overseeing the Indian Point case confirm that no final decision on relicensing can be made by the NRC until this environmental review is completed by the NRC. Riverkeeper also reserved all its rights to file new contentions based on the NRC’s review, so that the critical issue of nuclear waste storage at Indian Point can be addressed during the hearing process.

“This new legal challenge is our next step, following our federal court victory, to ensure that all environmental and safety concerns relating to nuclear waste storage at Indian Point are back on the table in the relicensing proceeding,” said Phillip Musegaas, Hudson River Program Director at Riverkeeper. “Continuing to store over 1500 tons of dangerous nuclear waste in packed pools outside the reactor containment domes poses a clear safety and environmental risk to the 18 million New Yorkers who live and work within fifty miles of Indian Point – to protect the public, the waste should be moved out of the spent fuel pools and into dry cask storage, and the reactors should be shut down so that no more waste is created.”

Prior to the landmark court ruling, Riverkeeper had been prevented from raising safety or environmental concerns about spent fuel storage at Indian Point in the relicensing proceeding. Now for the first time, the NRC must consider the environmental effects and costs of safely storing and disposing of Indian Point’s highly radioactive spent fuel if a repository is never found.

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