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Riverkeeper Responds to NRC Chairman’s Visit to Indian Point


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

Riverkeeper Responds to NRC Chairman’s Visit to Indian Point
Submits Critical Questions to Congressional Representatives

Ossining, NY – May 9, 2011 – Recognizing the unique opportunity that Congressman Engel and Congresswoman Lowey have in touring the Indian Point nuclear power plant facility with NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko tomorrow, Riverkeeper has encouraged the representatives to use the site visit as an opportunity to continue to hold NRC’s feet to the fire and has submitted proposed, pointed questions for them to ask during the tour.

This tour comes on the heels of two major New York Times articles highlighting the role that the culture of complicity by regulators played in making the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant vulnerable to the natural disaster that struck Japan on March 11 and most recently, the fact that starting in the 90s, the NRC eliminated a key requirement for relicensing and cut enforcement by 70% due to industry pressure.

We have also learned that the NRC has given Entergy numerous exemptions to critical fire safety regulations at Indian Point, so many that a NRC spokesman claimed “we can’t possibly keep count of how many we’ve granted.”

Riverkeeper greatly appreciates and supports Congressman Engel and Congresswoman Lowey’s efforts to address concerns surrounding the operation of Indian Point in the wake of the catastrophe at the Fukushima nuclear facility. Likewise, Riverkeeper has been working on various fronts to hold the NRC answerable to the many questions raised by this most recent nuclear disaster.

Highlights of the questions Riverkeeper submitted include:

  • Why does NRC refuse to require Entergy to move as much spent fuel as possible from the densely packed, leaking pools to dry cask storage?
  • Why won’t NRC provide the same conservative assumptions that were afforded to American residents in Japan by requiring evacuation planning for a 50-mile radius surrounding U.S. nuclear plants?
  • If necessary because of a serious accident (for example, one of similar magnitude to the incident at Fukushima) how would NRC ensure that the 20 million people within 50 miles of Indian Point would be safely evacuated?
  • What is the NRC and Entergy’s basis for summarily stating that Indian Point is properly equipped to handle earthquakes of other natural phenomenon?
  • Why does the NRC refuse to consider new seismic information in the Indian Point license renewal proceeding?

“In a recent television debate I was a part of, Entergy spokesman Jim Steets scoffed at the idea that NRC is too soft on industry, said Paul Gallay, Executive Director & Hudson Riverkeeper. “The most recent article in The New York Times proves that the truth is just the opposite: industry complaints in the 90s when THEY didn’t get their way led to a huge drop in enforcement and lower relicensing standards for US nuclear plants. It’s time for a change at NRC and tomorrow presents us with an opportunity to speak through our congressional representatives to say ‘we won’t stand for that culture of complicity here!’”

Read Riverkeeper’s Full Letter

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