Emergency Planning Issues & the Relicensing of Indian Point

Emergency Planning Issues & the Relicensing of Indian Point

Current Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) relicensing criteria do not take into account changes in population density, infrastructure, security risks, and the onsite storage of high-level radioactive waste accumulating at nuclear plants. A bi-partisan coalition of U.S. Representatives including John Hall (D-NY), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Nita Lowey (D-NY), and Christopher Shays (R-CT) has introduced legislation that would require the NRC to address emergency planning issues at Indian Point before a decision is made to grant a twenty-year license extension.

Tell the NRC that emergency planning issues need to be addressed in Indian Point's relicensing process.

On April 30, 2007 Entergy submitted an application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to extend Indian Point's operating licenses for another twenty years. The two reactors are over thirty years old. As their safety problems continue to escalate, there is still no workable emergency evacuation plan for 300,000 residents living within the 10-mile radius of Indian Point and no evacuation plan for those living outside the 10-mile radius, including over 8.5 million NYC residents. Currently, the NRC does not take emergency planning issues, increases in population density, and infrastructure into consideration when determining whether a nuclear power plant should be relicensed.

The NRC is failing the public by not taking the findings of the Witt Report into serious consideration in determining whether Indian Point should operate for an additional 20 years. Let them know you want Witt’s concerns addressed before it’s too late! Riverkeeper will hand-deliver a copy of your letter to the NRC at the July 2007 public meeting on Indian Point’s relicensing application.

Congress Takes Action
On May 3, 2007 Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) introduced the Nuclear Power Licensing Reform Act of 2007. Joined by Congressman John Hall (D-NY) and Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Lowey's legislation would require the NRC to consider security vulnerabilities as well as the viability of evacuation plans for the population living within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant. It would also require that any license renewal meet the same criteria an initial application would have to meet.

Specifically, it would:

• Make clear that any licensing, including initial licensing, must include a determination that the facility does not pose an unreasonable threat to persons or the environment because of safety or security vulnerabilities, including vulnerability to terrorist attacks;
• Require that there exist adequate evacuation plans for emergency events and that those plans have been approved by the relevant Federal agencies and States within 50 miles of the facility;
• Require that any renewed license must meet the same criteria and requirements that would be applicable for an original application for initial construction; and
• Require the NRC to determine that any changes in the size or distribution of the surrounding population have not resulted in the facility being located at a site at which a new facility would not be allowed to be built.

Congresswoman Lowey originally introduced this legislation in the 109th Congress.

Take Action

Click here to send a fax to Chairman Dale Klein of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, requesting that the NRC in the relicensing process for Indian Point, provide the public and elected officials with a comprehensive, detailed response to all of Witt's findings as called for in federal legislation proposed in the U.S. House (649) sponsored by Representatives Hall, Hinchey, Lowey, Engel, and Shays, and U.S. Senate (994) sponsored by Senators Clinton and Schumer. This legislation is also supported by New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.

For more information on Riverkeeper’s Indian Point Campaign, visit http://riverkeeper.org/campaign.php/indian_point or click on title of this post