“NEW YORK, Aug 12 (Reuters) – The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Wednesday issued a final safety report for the proposed renewal of the operating licenses for Entergy Corp’s (ETR.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York, the federal agency said in a release.
The NRC concluded there were no safety related items that would preclude license renewal for an additional 20 years.
Entergy submitted an application to the NRC in April 2007 to extend the Indian Point licenses for an additional 20 years. The current 40-year licenses expire Sept. 28, 2013, for Unit 2, and Dec. 12, 2015, for Unit 3.
The NRC uses the license renewal process to determine how an operator will manage the aging of a reactor. It is a two-step process, including a safety and environmental reviews.
The publication of the safety evaluation report marks the end of the NRC staff’s safety review. The agency’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS), an independent body of experts that advises the commission on reactor safety matters, will meet in September to discuss the report. The ACRS will issue a letter discussing its findings sometime after its meeting.
On the environmental front, the NRC published a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement in December. The comment period for that draft report ended in March and the NRC expects to issue a final environmental report in February 2010.
STILL TO BE DETERMINED
On its website, the NRC said the date for a final decision on Indian Point was still “to be determined” due to upcoming hearings that must deal with numerous contentions.
Community and environmental organizations have been trying to shut Indian Point since before the Three Mile Island accident in 1979. They fear radioactive contamination from an accident could harm the public in the heavily populated suburbs north of New York City.
The 2,045 megawatt Indian Point station, which industry groups say is essential to New York City’s power supply, is located in Buchanan in Westchester County about 45 miles north of Times Square in Manhattan. The station has two units: the 1,020 MW Unit 2 and the 1,025 MW Unit 3, which entered service in 1973 and 1976.
One MW powers about 800 homes in New York.
Since 2000, when the NRC approved of its first 20-year license renewal, the Commission has renewed the licenses for 54 reactors, more than half of the nation’s 104 operating reactors. It was now evaluating 12 applications, including Indian Point.
Entergy, of New Orleans, owns and operates about 30,000 MW of generating capacity, markets energy commodities, and transmits and distributes power to 2.7 million customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. (Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by John Picinich)”
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