“Spring Valley group challenges Indian Point license extension” by Greg Clary
“A Spring Valley-based group opposed to Indian Point is the first to challenge the nuclear plants’ license extension, filing papers citing 26 issues it wants federal regulators to examine as they decide the future of the facility.
The group, Friends United for Sustainable Energy, or FUSE, filed papers Friday with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, contending that Entergy Nuclear, the owners of both working reactors at Indian Point, cannot combine the two units into one application.
The group also said Entergy should have to consider environmental and other effects of the site’s nonworking reactor, Indian Point 1.
“For 40 years the owners of Indian Point have routinely avoided complying with some of the most important federal regulations designed to protect the health of our children and families from the terrible risks of a nuclear accident or terrorist attack,” the group wrote in a press release sent to some media outlets via e-mail early yesterday morning.
“Before a facility can be relicensed for another 20 years of operation, it must have adequate aging-management plans in place, must be capable of preventing offsite radiological incidents that could affect public health and the environment,” the group wrote.
FUSE members were able to meet the Oct. 1 deadline for filing the request for a hearing, even after joining a chorus of parties, including the state Department of Environmental Conservation, that successfully lobbied the NRC for a 60-day extension in the 22- to 30-month process.
That was granted late Thursday by the NRC, which now will close the window for such requests on Nov. 30.
Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the NRC, wouldn’t address the particulars of FUSE’s 173-page “intervenor petition,” but said the agency would respond to all requests together, with a decision coming months after the new deadline.
“It won’t likely happen until after the first of the year,” he said.
Agency officials said that all the contentions presented by those requesting hearings would be considered by a three-member Atomic Safety and Licensing Board.
Each group must establish that it has standing and substantiate its contentions in writing with backup documentation.
Should a contention or group not be accepted, the first route of appeal is to the five-member Nuclear Regulatory Commission itself. After that, the next avenue would be the courts, NRC officials said.
Entergy spokesman Jim Steets said his company’s application combining two reactors had plenty of precedent.
“Several plant owners have combined their applications for two sites, so it’s not new for Indian Point,” Steets said. “What’s important is that you address the differences, as we did in our application.”
Steets said any issues facing the closed Indian Point 1 reactor were part of NRC oversight and not designed to be evaluated in the license renewal of working reactors.
He asserted that Entergy had invested large sums of money in the site to ensure that it runs safely well into the 21st century.
“Our aging-management plan will address each and every maintenance issue,” Steets said. “Entergy has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into both Indian Point 2 and 3 to (ensure) their safe operation.””
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