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Indian Point Must Investigate Accident Mitigation

BUCHANAN—The Nuclear Regulatory Commission Atomic Safety Licensing Board said on July 14 that Entergy Corp., the operator of the Indian Point nuclear power plants, needs to provide a more thorough analysis of ways that the company would mitigate severe environmental accidents in a cost effective manner.

“One can only hope,” said Gary Shaw, a member of the steering committee of Croton Close Indian Point, “that the increased expenditures that Entergy is having now, it will not be in the best interest of the Entergy Corporation to keep pouring money into Indian Point.”

Shaw has been a local advocate of closing the plant for over a decade now, since Indian Point’s radiation release in 2000 .

This comes just weeks after Standard and Poor’s downgraded the credit rating of Entergy Corporation, from “stable” to “negative,” because of relicensing woes at two out of Indian Point’s three reactors, and ongoing litigation with the State of Vermont over the relicensing of Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission ’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board agreed with a challenge by the State of New York, that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had closed its review of the plant prematurely, and that severe environmental disasters could not be treated as impossibility.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has come out against the relicensing of the plant , and top aides told operators of Indian Point unequivocally in late June that he was determined to close the plant.

According to reporting by Vermont Today , a successful shutdown of the Vermont nuclear power plant “could provide further momentum to opponents of the New York plants,” wrote Kathleen Sullivan, Entergy’s lead attorney, a nationally recognized constitutional law scholar from New York City.

Also according to Vermont Today, the downgrading of Entergy’s credit rating could make raising capital harder for the company, which must make a decision by July 22 on whether to spend $65 million to refuel the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. The company is seeking an injunction against the State of Vermont’s planned March shutdown of the Vermont Yankee power plant. The company is claiming that the state has caused it “irreparable harm.” The state meanwhile maintains that the company could have taken steps years ago to avoid the credit rating downgrade.

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