CORTLANDT, N.Y. -- Commissioners of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) have ordered commission staff to conduct a re-analysis of the impacts caused by severe accidents at the Indian Point nuclear power facility and potential upgrades needed to protect the public against such accidents.
In Wednesday’s unanimous decision, the Commission reversed an earlier administrative ruling, and found that NRC staff’s analysis of severe accident minimization at the Indian Point facility violates the National Environmental Policy Act. The decision directs NRC staff to redo its analysis, and consider additional severe accident minimization at Indian Point.
New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman applauded the NRC decision.
“I am heartened that the NRC Commissioners agreed with my office that Entergy and NRC staff have systematically undercounted the costs and impacts associated with severe reactor accidents at the Indian Point plant,” Schneiderman said.
In its decision, the commission explained that “[w]hile typically we decline to second-guess the Board on its fact-specific conclusions, here the decision contains obvious material factual errors and could be misleading, warranting clarification.”
In 2010, NRC released its final supplemental environmental impact statement for Indian Point. In November 2013, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board resolved Contention 12 in favor of NRC Staff and Entergy.
Almost immediately, Schneiderman filed to a motion to reopen the record and for reconsideration of the contention, which the Board denied. The state appealed the Board’s decision on Contention 12 to the NRC Commissioners, and briefing on the appeal was completed in 2014. Today’s decision is in response to the appeal by Attorney General Schneiderman.
The Indian Point facilities are located 24 miles north of New York City, 35 miles from Times Square, and 38 miles from Wall Street. The facilities are 6 miles from one of the reservoirs that make up the New York City drinking water system. According to Entergy, approximately 19 million people will live within 50 miles of Indian Point by 2035. Indian Point has the highest surrounding population of any United States reactor; Indian Point has more than twice the surrounding population as the next nuclear plant site.
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