Sides Argue for Rejection, Approval of Indian Point License

Evidentiary hearings for the license renewal of the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan began Monday in Tarrytown.


Several dozen people packed a conference room at the DoubleTree Hotel in Tarrytown Monday for the first of 12 remaining evidentiary hearings for the Indian Point Energy Center’s license renewal application.

Entergy, the company that owns the nuclear power plant, submitted an application for a 20-year extension to operate Indian Point. The original 40-year operating licenses for Indian Point Units 2 and 3 are due to expire on Sept. 28, 2013 and Dec. 12, 2015.

Issues brought up by the state, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater Inc., Riverkeeper and other parties listed as intervenors in the licensing process will be addressed throughout the proceedings.

The hearings are being presided over by three judges from the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel. The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel  is the independent judicial body of the U.S. National Regulatory Committee.

“This isn’t the typical courtroom,” Lawrence McDade, one of the three administrative judges assigned to the hearing, said. “A typical courtroom is really only set up for two parties—to have  a plaintiff and a defendant. Here we have 10 parties and also we anticipated having public interest and most courtrooms do not have enough room for a significant number of members from the public.”  

The list of objections that have been brought those opposed opposed to granting the license renewal include concerns that an adequate contamination mitigation plan hasn't been developed in the event of a disaster, that enough analysis hasn't been done on the aging infrastructure at the energy center and fears of environmental contamination from storage pools that house used fuel rods.

“During the course of this hearing, you are going to hear about two different types of contentions—environmental contentions and safety and technical contentions,” McDade said. “Really there’s nothing that involves safety that doesn’t really involve the environment and vice versa.”

In regard to safety, McDade said Entergy has the burden of proving it will be able to run the facility in a safe manner.

McDade said the judges have already received 7,000 pages of testimony and 1,400 pages of exhibits from the interveners in this hearing.

“We’re not starting at square one,” McDade said. “We’re starting pretty much in the middle.”

Jim Steets, communications director for the Entergy company that owns the plant, said "we are pretty confident" in how things will go in the coming weeks (and months, if not years). He anticipated the question of relicensing, seriously begun in 2007, would not be resolved for several more years.

See video of Steets here. "When all is said is done, it will be hard to argue that there wasn't an opportunity to express every side," Steets said. "I do have a sense that this is a good opportunity for us to present the scientific and technical basis for our argument to the public."

Hearings will be held this through Thursday and are scheduled to start at 9 a.m. and end at about 6 p.m., McQuade said. People can start entering the hotel conference room at 8:30 a.m. No public comments are allowed.

Future hearing dates have been scheduled for Oct. 22-24 and Dec. 10-14.

Maggie24 October 16, 2012 at 10:11 AM
Yeah, good luck with getting heard on this one. I predict more of the TZ Bridge process--lots of supposed listening while the rubber stamp has already been applied, with no concern for any of the locals--including the river.
Stephen J. Reich October 16, 2012 at 10:59 AM
That has to be one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever heard. One thing the TZ process has addressed(or made a valiant effort to address depending on your skew)is the effect on the river ans local concern. Seems that if things do not go the way a group wants, a vocal minority cries foul and the whole process of fair,democratic, vetted, government action fails. This is a fundamental weakness in our democracy and it is being exploited by some to the extreme detriment of our country.
Joseph J Gannon October 16, 2012 at 01:47 PM
When the environmental extremists get through (no coal, no drilling, no fracking for gas, no nuclear power plants), what source will power our homes ? Wind? Solar? But then again, with the incumbent in the White House, why discuss it! The most radical EPA policies ever do his bidding by fiat! Wake up America!
Pat Godfrey October 16, 2012 at 01:59 PM
I agree the environmentalist do their best to stop all forms of energy production. They don't think thru what are the ramifications of having no energy available. They have no viable alternative, they just want us to live with less and less.


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