Westchester Citizens Awareness Network
Contact: Marilyn Elie: 914-954-6739 Margo Schepart: 914-325-4620

WestCan Supports Attorney General Cuomo and County Executive Spano Expanding the Criteria for Relicensing of Indian Point

The decisions of the NRC as it now functions, do not reflect the reality of life in Westchester when it comes to population, traffic, or radioactive isotopes leaking into the Hudson River. We are extremely grateful that Attorney General Cuomo is taking this assertive initiative to protect the health and safety of the people of New York. There’s more to re-licensing a nuclear plant than managing aging equipment and environmental degradation. What about the humans who live here? Indian Point was originally sited in Buchanan because 35 years ago this was a rural area of the country. That’s no longer the case and the enormous increase in population cannot be ignored.

Margo Schepart from WestCAN said, “Under existing regulations, a new nuclear plant could never be sited in this region. It defies logic that this reality has no bearing on the re-licensing process for Indian Point. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission can no longer be allowed to pretend that factors like increased population and massive traffic congestion do not matter.” She went on to add, “Having public meetings does not guarantee that public input will be taken into account. For years the public has been raising grave concerns about these very issues. They’ve been told repeatedly that current regulations address their concerns and that the status quo is just fine.”

Marilyn Elie of WestCAN said, “The NRC is an agency that writes its own rules. It follows the ones it likes and changes the ones it doesn’t. For years they required the county executives to sign off on the evacuation plan. When County Executive Spano refused to do so, they approved the plan anyway. This is not an agency we can trust. For years they did not even know tritium was leaking into the Hudson River and when they found out they said it did not matter.”

At a July 9, 2007 NRC meeting in Cortlandt Manor, NY, Tony Sutton, Westchester’s top emergency preparedness official, made the point that for years they had complained about the unreliability of the old emergency siren system but had no way to compel changes. He said that the county did not have a “stick” and neither did FEMA. The only entity with power in this regard was the NRC through their permitting process. Sam Collins, Regional Director of the NRC, acknowledged that the old siren system met regulatory requirements even though stakeholders felt it was not adequate or safe. It was only when Congress passed a law requiring a new system that Entergy complied. Lack of adequate regulation of the industry and a lack of transparency for the public is part of an agency wide problem.

On July 11, Knox News reported that federal regulators are reviewing a policy that has kept details on an East Tennessee nuclear facility — including a potentially deadly spill of highly enriched uranium last year –hidden from the public. “NRC inspection reports suggest that it was merely a matter of luck that a criticality accident did not occur,” reads a letter, signed by U.S. Reps. John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat. The details of this accident are at: http://knoxnews.com/news/2007/jul/11/erwin-uranium-spill-cloaked-in-secrecy/