Wednesday, October 17, 2007

NYC Wants Say on Indian Point

NYC Asks to Intervene in Indian Point Relicensing
October 16, 2007

(Associated Press) - New York City, which counts on the electricity provided by the Indian Point nuclear power plants but could be vulnerable in a reactor attack or accident, wants a say in whether the plants can stay open for 20 more years.

Without taking a position, but stating that the decision "will affect the welfare of all New Yorkers," the city has filed a request to intervene in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's relicensing process.

"The city has a clear interest in potential public health and safety issues associated with the issue of relicensure, notably in ensuring the safety of its food and water supplies," says the petition, signed by Vice President Michael Delaney of the city's Economic Development Corp.

"In addition, there is a continued need for the provision of lower-cost electric power to residential and commercial customers in New York City."

The public safety argument is often used by opponents of the Indian Point plants; the cheap electricity argument is often used by supporters. The petition was dated Oct. 1 and made public Tuesday by the NRC.

A call to Delaney was not immediately answered.

Entergy Nuclear, owner of the two Indian Point plants in Buchanan, 35 miles north of midtown Manhattan, has applied for new licenses that would allow the plants to run until 2033 and 2035.

Many of the groups that have been trying to close Indian Point since the 2001 terrorist attacks are now trying to block the relicensing.

The nuclear plants have been plagued with recent problems ranging from radioactive water leaks to balky emergency sirens to a guard caught sleeping. Opponents have long believed that the densely populated suburbs around the plants could not be quickly evacuated.

Entergy spokesman Jim Steets said, "It's sensible for New York City to take an interest, since their public buildings and infrastructure _ subways, schools, firehouses, streetlights, airports _ rely on Indian Point power."

NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said the city's request would be forwarded to the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, a quasi-judicial body which will assess the city's standing.

He said intervention is ordinarily granted only to those who take a position against relicensing, but sometimes a government agency "can be a party to proceeding without being an active participant."

Others who have asked to intervene include an anti-Indian Point group, Friends United for Sustainable Energy, and a pro-Indian Point industry group, the New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance.

Michael J. Delaney, Esq.
Vice President – Energy Regulatory Affairs
New York City Economic Development Corporation
110 William Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10038
(212) 312-3787

(Thanks to Lisa Rainwater, PhD, Policy Director Riverkeeper, Inc. for the head's up on this article. Lisa can be reached at 914-478-4501

Comments from Sherwood Martinelli:

I am actually very disturbed about what else was included in the article about the city of New York's filing for intervener status. Tucked in, almost as an after thought was the information that NY AREA has also asked to be accepted in as an intervener...further, it states that USUALLY only those who OPPOSE relicensing are granted such status.

This is a very alarming industry move that MUST BE OPPOSED. NY AREA is a super PRO-NUCLEAR group that was actually started and funded by Entergy...if they get status, every other group that Entergy has out there who supports Nuclear and/or Entergy is going to come in through that same door.

(914) 293 7458 or 734 1955

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