“Hudson Valley watchdogs fumed on the phone lines Thursday, upset over technical glitches that compromised a critical meeting about the Indian Point nuclear power plant.

The public hearing, held in Rockville, Md., was supposed to be open to local listeners via a live phone bridge, but the audio was poor through most of the session.

“We can’t hear,” callers pleaded as the hours rolled by.

The Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, a 15-member panel of industry experts, met with Indian Point staff and federal officials to critique the future of Buchanan’s controversial power plant and the merits of its application for a 20-year operating license renewal. The current operating licenses expire by 2015.

The committee discussed a number of hot-button issues dogging the plant, including contaminated water seeping into the Hudson river, aging pipes and the integrity of Indian Point’s future plans.

But the powwow was nearly inaudible over the phone.

NRC officials apologized for the glitch and said a meeting transcript would be available in about a week.

Members of the Clearwater environmental group, frustrated by the bad connection, said such meetings should be held in the region affected by the power plant.

“By holding the NRC hearing in Maryland,” said Clearwater spokesman Tom Staudter, in a statement, “the public’s ability to participate in the licensing process, as required by the Atomic Energy Act, is dramatically decreased.”

The advisory committee will meet Friday and Saturday to develop a written assessment about Indian Point’s license renewal application. That recommendation will be passed along to the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, which will ultimately decide if Indian Point is fit for continued service.

The report should be available to the public next week.

Meeting documents are available at recordonline.com/IP”

To view the complete article, search the archives at the link below: