“The New York Department of State has refused to give Indian Point a certificate required for future use of the Hudson River — part of the Cuomo administration’s ongoing attempt to block the plant’s license renewal and force its closure.
“Entergy Corp., which owns and operates the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, has contended the state certificate is not needed for the plant’s continued operation. The two sides are currently facing off in court over the issue.
“Entergy is seeking to extend licenses for Indian Point’s two reactors for 20 more years. The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel, an arm of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, will resume its hearings in the relicensing process next week in Tarrytown, focusing on safety concerns related to Indian Point’s aging facilities.
“Secretary of State Cesar Perales officially rejected Entergy’s request for a Coastal Zone certificate on Nov. 6.
“Perales wrote in his letter to Entergy that the plant has been “damaging the coastal resources of the Hudson River” for the past 40 years, withdrawing up to 2.5 billion gallons of water a day and killing at least 1 billion fish in the process. Other issues raised by Perales in the denial letter included the plant’s proximity to two active seismic faults as well as to the nation’s most heavily populated area and its drinking water source.
“Indian Point’s location and operations are incompatible uses in New York’s coastal area,” Perales said. “Relicensing the Indian Point facilities for an additional 20 years without substantial modification of the facilities will continue the environmental harms to the estuary and increase the threats to the public.”
“Perales, a member of Cuomo’s cabinet, joins other state officials who have been critical of Indian Point’s license renewal. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has raised concerns over the facility’s safety, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called for Indian Point’s closure.
“Riverkeeper, a vocal opponent of Indian Point, welcomed the decision, saying that it has the “potential” to block Indian Point’s license renewal.
“Entergy, however, said the decision has no impact because the company had withdrawn its application for a Coastal Zone certificate last year.
“A state appellate court has ruled that the plant is grandfathered in under the coastal management program, which came into effect in 1982. The case is pending before the state Court of Appeals.
“NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said the safety panel’s hearing will take place as scheduled next week.
“The commission will decide on the Coastal Zone certification issue at a later time, most likely when a final decision is rendered on the Indian Point license renewal application. That decision will not occur for quite some time,” Sheehan said.
“The original 40-year license for Indian Point Unit 2 expired in September 2013 and the license for Unit 3 is set to expire next month. Entergy filed the renewal application in 2007 and is allowed to keep operating the reactors until the Nuclear Regulatory Commission decides on the application.”
“While the Cuomo administration seems intent on closing the Indian Point nuclear power plant over safety concerns, the Buchanan energy facility is not going down without a fight.
“Entergy Nuclear Operations Inc., which owns and operates the nuclear power plant, filed suit against Secretary of State Cesar Perales in federal court Thursday, seeking a court order to toss out the state’s refusal to grant the power plant a certificate to operate on the Hudson River.
“Perales, a member of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s cabinet, rejected Entergy’s request for a Coastal Zone certificate on Nov. 6 to use the Hudson River. In a letter to Entergy, Perales said for the past 40 years the plant has been “damaging the coastal resources of the Hudson River,” withdrawing billions of gallons of water a day, and killing at least a billion fish.
“In addition, Perales cited the plant’s proximity to two active seismic faults, and the nation’s most heavily populated area and its source of drinking water.
“Entergy is challenging the state’s authority to regulate nuclear power plants based on safety issues, which the company says in the suit is the sole jurisdiction of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
“Federal law is clear that only the federal government can regulate a nuclear power plant on safety issues,” Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi said
“The state did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.
“Since 2007, Entergy has been seeking to extend its licenses for Indian Point’s two reactors, Units 2 and 3, for 20 more years. In December, the plant’s Unit 3 reactoreclipsed its original 40-year licensing period — a mark that the plant’s Unit 2 reactor reached in September 2013.
“The nuclear power plant can continue to operate until the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission decides on its application — a process that will take several years, Nappi said.
“Plant opponents have cited numerous shutdowns in 2015 as red flags of an aging infrastructure.
“On Dec. 7, a malfunctioning roof fan caused the plant’s Unit 2 reactor to shut downfor three days. On Dec. 14, the plant’s Unit 3 reactor was shut down for nearly three days due to an electrical disturbance.
“Earlier in 2015, Indian Point was shut down 19 days in May and July due to a May 7 steam leak; a May 9 transformer failure, which spilled about 3,000 gallons of oil into the Hudson River; a July 8 pump motor failure; and a June 15 switchyard-breaker failure in a Consolidated Edison substation near the power plant.
“Nappi said federal inspectors spend “thousands of hours each year reviewing plant operations and data and have stated Indian Point is a safe plant.”
“The December shutdowns at the Buchanan power plant spurred Cuomo to order a state investigation into the plant’s operations. The investigation, led by the state’s Department of Public Service, is expected to be completed by Feb. 15.”
To read the original stories on LoHud, as well as view the text of Entergy’s lawsuit, click the links below: