BUCHANAN, N.Y. – The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, the agency handling contentions on the relicensing of the Indian Point nuclear power plants, announced Thursday that it will tour the plants on May 8. All parties involved in the contentions were invited to attend, including environmental organizations Riverkeeper, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, and state and federal agencies.
“The purpose of this site visit is to gain an appreciation for the physical configuration of the key plant components and to focus on specific elements discussed in the contentions that are external to the reactors at Indian Point,” said the notice published the the board.
The licensing board is handling about 20 contentions, some filed by Riverkeeper and Hudson Sloop Clearwater, surrounding the license renewal of the plants. Contentions are filed by outside parties, and usually assert that a legal or regulatory aspect of the relicensing process has not been met.
“We welcome the panel’s visit to Indian Point and the opportunity to reaffirm our programs that will ensure the plants’ continued safe operation during the period of license renewal,” Jerry Nappi, spokesperson for the Indian Point plants, wrote in an e-mail.
Environmental parties involved say they think the judges will see quite the opposite. Touring the plant “should open the judges’ eyes to the risks posed by this aging, trouble-plagued nuclear plant,” said Phillip Musegaas, Hudson River director for Riverkeeper.
“This site visit is a key step in the process leading up to historic relicensing hearings for Indian Point, when Riverkeeper, New York state and others present what we are confident is a winning case that will lead to the judges’ denial of Entergy’s relicensing application,” Musegaas said.
Manna Jo Greene, environmental director for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, said, "I'm looking forward to participating in the tour of Indian Point with the ASLB panel of judges and all the parties in the relicensing case. I think the tour will both inform the testimony which will be presented at the hearings and enhance the judges' ability to consider the information submitted by the intervenors in the case. There is no substitute for firsthand experience to create a realistic context for understanding the technical intricacies of this aging facility."
Other parties that could choose to attend the tour include the office of the state attorney general, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the staff of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The relicensing board asked to see the reactor building, spent-fuel pools and diesel generator buildings, among other sites at the complex.