Their report was timed to come before a meeting hosted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission this evening to talk about the 2012 annual safety assessment. That assessment gave Indian Point 2 and 3 a green rating, meaning that findings from inspections showed “very low safety significance.”
It also preceded a 6 p.m. Tuesday meeting hosted by the NRC at the Doubletree Hotel, 455 S. Broadway, Tarrytown.
They assigned their critical grade to the NRC as well as Entergy, which owns Indian Point.
“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is going through the motions on Indian Point,” said Riverkeeper Paul Gallay. “They’re not considering the government report about shadow evacuation and the fact that we could not evacuate Indian Point in the case of an emergency. They’re not considering fire safety adequately. They’re not forcing Entergy to move spent fuel to dry cast storage. They’re not considering earthquake risk which they themselves have assessed as being greatest at this plant of any of America’s reactors.”
(“Shadow evacuation” refers to people beyond the official evacuation zone also fleeing their homes in fear, complicating matters.)
Jerry Nappi, a spokesman for Entergy, the owner of the Buchanan facility, came to the press conference to counter their views. Also supporting Indian Point were representatives of the New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance.
“Indian Point is a thoroughly scrutinized facility,” Nappi said after the conference. “The NRC spent more than 10,000 person hours inspecting it last year alone and because of the investment we’ve made in the plant, we can demonstration that it operates safely….Entery has invested more than $100 million since 911 on security alone and were able to demonstrate through drills.
Among the opponents’ criticisms was that Indian Point did not power down during the destruction wrought by Superstorm Sandy, and that consequently, an emergency shut-down was required at 10 pm the night of the storm.
Richard Thomas, director of NY AREA and a supporter of the plant, said the shut-down was caused by a problem with the regional power grid, not a problem with the plant.
To Nappi, the facility’s performance during the storm was another demonstration of how badly it is needed.
“During Superstorm Sandy, we were one of the few pieces of electricity infrastructure that came through the storm unscathed,” he said.
Photo shows Paul Gallay, the Riverkeeper, speaking at the press conference at Peekskill’s Riverfront Green Park.