[ RadSafe ] Indian Point License Extension

THOMAS POTTER pottert at starpower.net
Wed Dec 12 16:13:04 CST 2007

Here are a couple of Times articles to complement
the article posted by John Jacobus
regarding the opposition of the State of New York to
the extension of the operating
licenses for Indian Point Units 2 and 3.
The bald posturing by the State of New York
officials should be obvious to all.  The
State has a responsibility to protect its citizens. 
If State officials really
believe the plant should be shut down immediately,
they should take the action
necessary to do it.  To do anything less would be
irresponsible.  It is true that by
law only NRC can regulate for safety.  But
intervention in the NRC licensing is not
the only or even the best way for New York to shut
down the plants.  The sure way for
the State to succeed and to succeed in the most
timely manner is for the State to buy
the plants and shut them down.  An owner can shut
down a plant for any reason he
The idea of a state owning a nuclear power plant may
seem strange to some, but
precedent for this can be found quite close to this
case--on top of it, actually. 
Bizarre as it may seem, the State of New York owned
and operated Indian Point Unit 3,
one of the units it now believes should be shut down
immediately, until 2000, when it
sold the plant for hundreds of millions of dollars. 
(How responsible was that?)  The
State of New York sold the plant, and it can buy the
plant back.  And if it can buy
one, it can buy two.  To do anything less would be
irresponsible if state officials
believe their own statements.  They surely don't. 
Making those statements is simply
a different way of being irresponsible.
Thomas E. Potter   
The New York Times
December 4, 2007
Citing Past Troubles at Indian Point, State Urges
Panel to Deny License Extension
WHITE PLAINS, Dec. 3 — Attorney General Andrew M.
Cuomo said on Monday that the state
had asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to deny
an application to extend the
license of the Indian Point nuclear reactors, citing
“a long and troubling history of
Mr. Cuomo, flanked by Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson and
members of the Congressional
delegation at a news conference, claimed that the
nuclear plant, in densely populated
Westchester County, could not be defended from a
terrorist attack and that the
surrounding area could not be evacuated if a major
accident occurred. The state filed
a 313-page petition on behalf of Mr. Cuomo and Gov.
Eliot Spitzer on Friday.
Most recently, opponents’ ire had been directed at
the plant owner’s belated progress
in meeting federal deadlines to install warning
sirens around the plant, which is on
the Hudson River in Buchanan.
The state also contends that the application to
extend the plant’s license for 20
more years, which was filed on April 30 by the
plant’s owner, Entergy Nuclear, failed
to account for pipes, cables and fire-protection
systems that have deteriorated at
the nuclear reactors, which began operation in the
“I believe Indian Point should be closed and it
should be closed now,” Mr. Cuomo said
at the news conference at the Westchester County
administrative building.
Officials of the N.R.C. could not recall a previous
occasion when a state had tried
to intervene in a license-extension proceeding to
block the extension. New York State
owned Indian Point 3 from 1975 until 2000.
New Jersey has intervened in the relicensing of the
Oyster Creek nuclear plant, and
Vermont and Massachusetts both sought conditions on
the license extension of the
Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.
Jim Steets, a spokesman for Entergy, said the
company had invested hundreds of
millions of dollars to upgrade equipment at the
plant since it bought the two
reactors. He said that the company was prepared to
prove to federal regulators that
the equipment still worked properly.
“The plant equipment can perform according to its
design,” Mr. Steets said. “That is
what we have to demonstrate to the N.R.C.”
In a statement on Monday, Governor Spitzer said that
the Indian Point relicensing
application “fails to address a number of crucial
issues.” Although he did not go as
far as Mr. Cuomo in calling for an immediate
shutdown, Mr. Spitzer said the plant
should close as soon as an alternative source of
power could be found. The two
reactors have a combined capacity of 2,069
A three-judge panel appointed by the N.R.C. is
expected to rule within the next
several weeks whether New York State can intervene
in the relicensing application and
whether the issues it has raised should be
Entergy applied for a 20-year extension of the
original 40-year licenses on April 30.
The commission, which has granted about two dozen
20-year extensions around the
country, has established a goal of ruling on
applications within 22 months if there
is no hearing, or within 30 months if there is one.
The license for the Indian Point 2 reactor expires
in 2013, and Indian Point 3’s
license ends in 2015. But the licenses have been
automatically extended until the
commission issues its ruling. Indian Point 1 closed
in 1974.
It was not clear from the state’s filing how New
York proposed to meet its goals of
reducing greenhouse gas emissions and keeping the
region’s grid supplied with energy
on peak days, although opponents of the plant insist
that efficient use of
electricity could take up any slack should the
reactors be shut down.
But Patrick Moore, a founder and former member of
the environmental activist group
Greenpeace, who has been hired by the nuclear
industry to promote the technology,
said on Monday that there was “a logical
inconsistency” in the argument being
presented by opponents of the plant.
Mr. Moore said the goal of shutting Indian Point and
of reducing carbon emissions
were “mutually exclusive” in a time of concern
over global warming. He added that if
the reactors were shut, the logical substitute would
be two new ones.
Mr. Cuomo said at the news conference that claims of
power shortages should the plant
be shut were “scare tactics,” and he cited
studies that have shown there would be
sufficient power to meet the area’s needs without
Indian Point. He also said that the
plant has been shut for refueling and repairs for
extended periods and that the power
grid has not suffered.
“If the plant closes, we can replace the power,”
he said.
The two nuclear reactors in Westchester County —
which have attracted much opposition
since the accident at the Three Mile Island reactor
in Pennsylvania in March 1979 and
the attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11,
2001 — are surrounded by 20 million
people within a 50-mile radius, more than any other
reactor in the country.
American Airlines Flight 11, which struck the north
tower of the World Trade Center,
flew south along the Hudson River and over Indian
Point, but the vulnerability of the
reactors is a matter of dispute.
Nonetheless, Mr. Cuomo said that “the terrorist
threat that this plant poses is
John Sullivan reported from White Plains and Matthew
L. Wald from Washington.
December 5, 2007
Taking Aim at Indian Point
In an extraordinary move, Gov. Eliot Spitzer and
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo have
placed themselves at the head of the group of
federal, state and local officials who
believe that the Indian Point nuclear power plant is
unsafe and poorly run and should
be closed. They should be given a chance to make
their case.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which must decide
in the next year or two whether
to allow Indian Point to remain open after its two
reactor licenses expire in 2013
and 2015, should grant New York’s request to
intervene in the relicensing process. It
should provide a full airing of the issues raised by
Mr. Spitzer and Mr. Cuomo, which
focus mostly on Indian Point’s vulnerability to
terrorist attack, its record of
leaks, accidents and environmental damage and its
status as the nuclear plant with
more neighbors than any other in the country — 20
million people within 50 miles, in
a region where mass evacuations might be all but
This would require changing the rules of such
hearings, which focus on the soundness
of the plant and the ability of the utility to run
it. By asking for a hearing, Mr.
Spitzer and Mr. Cuomo have joined local politicians
and activists in arguing that the
9/11 attacks changed things and that the commission
has not adequately considered the
risks and consequences of terrorism as it reviews
relicensing applications for the
plants it oversees.
We, too, believe that domestic security is of utmost
urgency. The intense scrutiny
that New York wants to apply to Indian Point —
about 30 miles up the Hudson River
from Manhattan — should apply to all nuclear
plants in the country, including those
whose spent-fuel pools are above ground and thus
more vulnerable than Indian Point’s.
This should not be misconstrued as an attack on
nuclear power, which we strongly
believe has a place in the nation’s energy mix.
Indeed, our support for New York’s
position comes with a major caveat: The state has an
obligation to explain what it
would do about the 2,000 megawatts of electricity
that would be lost if the plant
closed. Its solution must not compromise New
York’s commitment to reducing greenhouse
gases in the region. Replacing one potential menace
with another — like an
environmentally dirtier and costly natural-gas plant
— would be a bad outcome.

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