“TARRYTOWN – It was much the same story as with past annual performance assessments – the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Indian Point is safely run, by parent company Entergy.

One thing different is the crowds keep getting smaller.  Only about 30 citizens showed up for Thursday night’s three-hour session in Tarrytown.  Among them, some of the usual cast members, including Paul Steidler, of New York AREA, a group that fully supports Indian Point.

“This is a plant that for five years, has got the NRC’s highest evaluation.  It’s intently scrutinized because of political pressure and other requests that come into play, much, much more so than any other plant in the country, and it continues to do very well.”

Croton-on-Hudson resident Gary Shaw is with the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, a group very critical of Indian Point.  Shaw argued it’s easy to get good marks when the NRC doesn’t look at everything, and lowers the standards for some of the things they do look at.

“They’ve reduced the margin from an hour, that the insulation had to protect the safety equipment, down to 24 minutes.  We think that’s absurd.”

Another concern, identified by Riverkeeper Staff Attorney Deborah Brancato, is the recent underground pipe leak.

Mel Gray is the NRC’s chief of DRP Projects Branch 2.  “We are always learning, and I think what we are referring to is the underground spent fuel pool and when we do have an issue that shows itself and an early indication of a leak, we will look at that comprehensively, and first of all, recognize and determine if there is any immediate safety issue with it.”

Entergy’s site vice president, Joseph Pollock, said their goal, particularly for 2009, is to stay a step ahead of the NRC, with, among other things, an aggressive self-monitoring program.

“Our corrective action program.  It is our job to identify, find and fix.  The NRC is an oversight inspection group, so when the NRC finds it, we didn’t do our job well enough.  That’s what we strive to do; continually improve.”

Entergy is seeking a 20-year renewal of the licenses for the two active reactors.  The current licenses expire in 2013 for Unit 2 and 2015 or Unit 3.  The initial license was for 40 years.  The annual assessment review is not part of the relicensing procedure.”

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