Statement of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton Regarding Problems Plaguing Indian Point Emergency Preparedness

Press Release

Date: Dec. 3, 2007
Issues: Energy


Statement of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton Regarding Problems Plaguing Indian Point Emergency Preparedness

Clinton: Emergency Preparedness Issues Need to Be On the Table During Relicensing Process

"Since September 11th I have worked to push both the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Entergy to improve safety, security and emergency preparedness at the plant. Despite improvements in both Entergy's management of Indian Point and NRC oversight, problems have persisted at the plant. For example, repeated failures of the sirens have raised questions about emergency preparedness, and leaks from spent fuel pools have prompted safety questions. The steady drumbeat of these and other problems have eroded public confidence in Indian Point, as is clearly demonstrated by the filing today by Governor Spitzer and Attorney General Cuomo.

I agree with Governor Spitzer and Attorney General Cuomo that the relicensing process as currently constituted is inadequate to address the unique concerns at Indian Point, a nuclear plant located in one of the densely populated parts of the country. That is why I have pushed for an Independent Safety Assessment to examine these issues and inform the relicensing process. I believe all of these issues need to be on the table during the relicensing process. The existing relicensing process does not review aspects of Indian Point operations that are the subject of routine inspection by NRC; nor does re-licensing evaluate emergency preparedness. Unless the NRC is willing to address these issues during the relicensing process, it will be difficult to justify a decision to allow operation of these plants for another 20 years."

Senator Clinton has worked to push both the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Entergy to improve safety, security and emergency preparedness at the plant, including the siren system. Senator Clinton added a provision to the energy bill in 2005 to require Entergy to install a new siren system with battery backup in response to repeated failures of the Indian Point siren system due to a lack of backup power. That provision was signed into law in August of 2005, and the NRC set a January 2007 deadline for having the system operational. Entergy applied for and received an extension of the deadline to April 15th, and subsequently missed the deadline. NRC fined Entergy $130,000 and Senator Clinton announced that she would sponsor Senate companion legislation to a bill to be sponsored in the U.S. House by Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland) and Congressman John Hall (D-Hudson Valley), that would steer fines levied by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for safety violations to counties surrounding nuclear facilities in order to assist them with emergency planning.

Earlier this year, Senator Clinton announced that she would be asking the DHS inspector general to evaluate why Entergy has failed meet established deadlines to achieve operability of a new alert and notification system for the Indian Point nuclear power plant. Senator Clinton has also continued to call for the NRC to conduct an Independent Safety Assessment (ISA) at Indian Point and has introduced legislation to require an ISA at the plant.


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