May 4, 2007

Lowey, Hall, Hinchey Introduce Legislation to Raise Standards for Indian Point

Bill Would Require Old Power Plants to Meet Same Standards as New Plants

Washington, DC – U.S. Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY18), John Hall (D-NY19) and Maurice Hinchey (D-NY22) yesterday introduced legislation that would require the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to make sure nuclear power plant re-licensing takes into account the current environment in which the plant operates. The Nuclear Power Licensing Reform Act of 2007 would ensure that older power plants applying for license renewals, such as Indian Point, must meet the same stringent standards as new plants applying for the first time.

“If Indian Point were proposed today, the community would be up in arms that a nuclear plant would be built in such a heavily populated area,” said Lowey. “Yet these plants are allowed to continue to operate without any consideration of how an area has changed over the past several decades. We need to reform the re-licensing process to take these changes into account.”

“Indian Point’s location in one of the nation’s most densely populated areas creates a significant threat to public safety, and it’s impossible to believe that a nuclear plant could be built in its location today,” said Congressman Hall. “If Indian Point hopes to be allowed to operate for another 20 years, it is absolutely necessary that it can meet and exceed the same stringent safety standards required of new plants. For a plant with an operational record as poor as Indian Point’s, it would be unacceptable for the NRC to hold it to any less rigorous standard. This legislation will help to make sure that no corners are cut in the re-licensing process, and I am proud to be a cosponsor.”

“A lot of things have changed at Indian Point since the last time a license was issued for the plant and all of that must came into play as part of the license renewal process,” Hinchey said. “Given that Indian Point is plagued with unplanned shutdowns, has experienced a recent fire, does not have properly installed emergency sirens, and is leaking radioactive material into the Hudson River, there is clearly a lot that needs to be addressed. It is 2007, not 1987 and Entergy must be held to much more rigorous standards in the re-licensing process. If FERC were to grant a license renewal now, Entergy would have little or no incentive to take the very important steps needed to improve safety at Indian Point.”

The Nuclear Power Licensing Reform Act would:

· Make clear that any licensing, including initial licensing, must include a determination that the facility does not pose an unreasonable threat to persons or the environment because of safety or security vulnerabilities, including vulnerability to terrorist attacks;

· Require that there exist adequate evacuation plans for emergency events and that those plans have been approved by the relevant Federal agencies and States within 50 miles of the facility;

· Require that any renewed license must meet the same criteria and requirements that would be applicable for an original application for initial construction; and

· Require the NRC to determine that any changes in the size or distribution of the surrounding population have not resulted in the facility being located at a site at which a new facility would not be allowed to be built.