WASHINGTON – After reprimanding Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials last week for their inexcusable delay in informing local officials and the public about a radioactive leak from one of the spent fuel pools at Indian Point 2, U.S. Congresswoman Sue Kelly today said the NRC must further improve its handling of a safety concern that the agency says it continues to evaluate.
Kelly and other local members of Congress were briefed about the leak late this afternoon after recently expressing their disapproval of the NRC’s handling of the safety issue. The NRC disclosed that it is currently evaluating whether or not the leak is slowly increasing.
“We won’t tolerate a lackadaisical approach when it comes to safety at Indian Point,” Kelly said. “The NRC needs to do a better job of responding to issues like this and communicating to surrounding communities and local officials.”
The problems began when the NRC waited until Sept. 20 to announce it was investigating a small leak at Indian Point, after discovering it back on Sept. 2. Officials from the Department of Homeland Security and the NRC met with local officials at Kelly’s request on Sept. 15 regarding Indian Point safety and emergency preparedness issues, yet at no time during the meeting was the leak disclosed.
When Kelly asked for reasons behind the notification delay during a Sept. 21 call to NRC officials, the response was that it was such a small and insignificant leak that it did not rise to the NRC’s level of immediate communication.
“Our confidence in the safety of operations at Indian Point will not improve without a more rigorous effort by the NRC,” Kelly said. “We need to know that they are responding quickly and appropriately to troubling reports such as this leak.”