“Congresswoman Sue Kelly is calling on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to conduct an Independent Safety Assessment at the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan.

Kelly visited Indian Point on Jan. 30 to press her longstanding concerns
about the NRC’s handling of an ongoing leak investigation at one of the
spent fuel pools as well as issues that she has raised about potential
problems in the separation of cables at the plant. Kelly brought Dave
Lochbaum, a nuclear safety engineer with the Union of Concerned Scientists, with her on the tour of the plants last week.

While Kelly said there have been efforts made to improve and upgrade the safety and security of plant operations, she is pushing for an Independent Safety Assessment as “the most guaranteed way” to ensure the utmost safety at Indian Point and for surrounding communities. She said a similar independent review in 1996 of Maine Yankee nuclear power plant detected some major safety and maintenance problems that would have otherwise remained unknown.

Kelly made the case for an ISA at Indian Point in a letter to NRC Chairman Nils Diaz Wednesday. “I believe an independent and thorough safety assessment of Indian Point is a necessary step to ensuring the plants’ safe operations,” Kelly wrote. “As you recall, the NRC established an Independent Safety Assessment team in 1996 to conduct a comprehensive horizontal and vertical review of the Maine Yankee plant. The formation of such an ISA team for Indian Point would help us make certain that problems are identified proactively in order to prevent any emergency or potentially disastrous event from occurring at Indian Point.”

Kelly is requesting that the ISA for Indian Point be monitored by outside
experts and local officials. She said that an independent safety review “may help restore the public’s confidence in the NRC’s oversight, and will
certainly better assure the safety of the plant’s operations.”

“The tour demonstrated that Entergy has made considerable progress resolving a longstanding problem – cable separation – as well as a more recent issue – leakage from the Unit 2 spent fuel pool,” Lochbaum said. “The ISA would either confirm that Entergy has replicated this progress across the board or focus attention on remaining gaps.””

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