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Indian Point Renewal Hearings Set For October

BUCHANAN, N.Y. - A date and time for the first hearing of contentions surrounding the license renewal of Indian Point Nuclear Power Plants has been set by the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB).

The first 10 contentions filed against Indian Point will be heard by the three-judge panel beginning at 1 p.m., on Oct. 15, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Tarrytown, N.Y. The judges are independent of the federal regulatory agency, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

"It's not like a hearing you hear on TV," said NRC spokesperson, Diane Screnci. "There are opening statements and closing statements, if they wish to do those, but that's it," she said.

The majority of the testimony, referred to in the notice as "pre-filed evidentiary submissions," will be reviewed by the ASLB before the hearings begin. Information in the essay-like testimonies may be questioned by judges, and only judges. Hearings function similarly to cases heard by the U.S Supreme Court, and less like familiar criminal or civil courts.

Well over a dozen contentions against the 20-year license renewal have been filed by environmental organizations and New York state, among some of the parties. Contentions generally take about one-and-a-half days to hear, Screnci said.

The longest license renewal review period by the NRC, which included just a couple contentions, was that of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth, Mass. The application for license renewal was filed with the NRC in January 2006, and was not resolved until May 29, 2012. Pilgrim is owned by Entergy Corp., which also owns the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plants.

A license renewal application for Indian Point Nuclear Power Plants was filed in April 2007. The plants can operate past the expiration of their original 40-year license, in 2013 and 2015, during the license renewal process.

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