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NRC Issues Updated Environmental Report For Indian Point

WAMC/Allison Dunne

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has updated an environmental study of New York’s Indian Point nuclear power plant as part of the plant’s license renewal application. Environmentalists are taking issue with the study.

The NRC update to the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement released in December 2010 incorporates new information about the possible impacts of Buchanan-based Indian Point on the aquatic environment. Here’s NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan.

He says new studies from Indian Point parent Entergy and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation characterize the plant’s thermal plume – that’s the area of the Hudson River affected by discharges of warm water from the plant – as having small impacts on aquatic resources. In addition:

Philip Musegaas is Hudson River Program Director and attorney with environmental advocacy group Riverkeeper. He says Riverkeeper disagrees with the NRC’s conclusion, for a few reasons.

Here’s the second reason.

In 2010, the New York State DEC denied a water quality permit for Indian Point, a permit that is necessary for relicensing. Entergy is contesting that denial, and DEC administrative law judges are reviewing the case.

The NRC’s Sheehan says the parties who have been involved in the relicensing hearings will have the opportunity to file contentions to the Final Environmental Impact Statement.

Musegaas says he is not surprised by the NRC study, and is not yet sure how Riverkeeper will respond.

The initial 40-year operating license for Indian Point Two expires in September, and the license for Indian Point Three runs through December of 2015.

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