“A federal regulator’s promise to conduct an in-depth review of Indian Point falls short of what Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and other lawmakers want, so they will continue pushing for a more comprehensive evaluation.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Nils Diaz told Clinton at a Senate hearing last month that the agency would conduct a “thorough, independent review” of the nuclear plants.
In a recent letter to Clinton, he outlined the details of that review, which includes separate seven-week inspections of Indian Point 2 and 3 next year. Diaz said a more in-depth review is not warranted.
Indian Point has had problems in the past year from emergency siren network failure and plant shutdowns to the discovery of tritium and strontium 90, two radioactive isotopes leaking underneath the Buchanan site.
Clinton, D-N.Y., disagreed with Diaz in a letter she sent him, released yesterday by her office.
“In my view the engineering safety assessment you have proposed is a step forward, but it does not fully address the range of concerns that prompted the calls for an (independent safety assessment),” Clinton wrote, adding that she is introducing a Senate bill that would require that, as detailed in similar legislation already under consideration by the House of Representatives.
Those involved in the House bill welcomed Clinton’s help.
“I’m pleased that Sen. Clinton will be carrying our bill in the Senate,” said Rep. Sue Kelly, R-Katonah, who joined with Democrats Nita Lowey, Eliot Engel and Maurice Hinchey last month in sponsoring the bill. “A more prompt and more thorough inspection of the plant than what the NRC is proposing will better assure safe operations.”
Neil Sheehan of the commission said his agency had committed to 700 extra hours of inspection for each reactor and state agencies are welcome to observe or participate in the inspection.
“We intend to perform separate engineering team inspections at Indian Point 2 and 3 next year,” Sheehan said. “We will also continue to devote considerable time and effort to emergency planning.”
Indian Point officials said the company would let regulators and lawmakers sort out what would be required of the plants’ owners.
“Whatever is ultimately decided, we’re prepared to meet or exceed our regulatory obligations,” Indian Point spokesman Jim Steets said.”
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