NEW YORK NUCLEAR PLANTS TO GET INDEPENDENT SAFETY ASSESSMENT

NEW YORK NUCLEAR PLANTS TO GET INDEPENDENT SAFETY ASSESSMENT
Date: March 11, 2006 1:25:03 AM EST

New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution
VT . NH . ME . MA . RI . CT . NY –
POST OFFICE BOX 545, BRATTLEBORO, VERMONT 05302

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 10, 2006————————————–Contact: Raymond Shadis – 207-882-7801

OFFICE of STAFF TECHNICAL ADVISOR – These views are those of the Staff Tech. Advisor and Have Not Been Cleared with the Coalition; They may not represent the views of the coalition.

NEW YORK NUCLEAR PLANTS TO GET INDEPENDENT SAFETY ASSESSMENT THANKS TO CONGRESSMAN’S ADVOCACY
“VERMONT GETS RINKY-DINK,” SAYS COALITION ADVISOR

New England Coalition today sent a letter to Vermont’s Congressional Team and Governor Advising that, under the duress of legislation proposed by US Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and backed by Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) , US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Nils J,. Diaz has agreed that his agency will perform an extraordinary safety assessment of the Indian Point Power Stations(2) in Westchester County, NY. Hinchey’s bill specifically calls for an “ Independent Safety Assessment”.
The rigorous diagnostic evaluation of plant systems and operations, as it was performed following a flawed NRC approval of a 1989 Maine Yankee 10% power uprate, was first recommended for the Vermont Yankee Plant by New England Coalition Staff Technical Advisor for the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant in hearings before the Vermont Public Service Board on the sale of Vermont Yankee to Entergy Corporation in 2002. Shadis, who had also been named to a Federal Advisory Committees Act Panel (requiring expertise in the subject area) to review NRC’s new Reactor Oversight Process, was then admitted for expert testimony by the Vermont Public Service Board.
These days, Shadis (though not an attorney) is representing New England Coalition before the US NRC and the Vermont PSB and ANR. Shadis was instrumental in securing the nation’s first convening of an NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board to review Vermont Yankee’s extended power uprate. Though safety issues admitted by the ASLB remain to be adjudicated, the NRC’s Staff has nonetheless issued permission for Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee to begin ramping up top 120 % of original licensed thermal power in the 35 year old reactor.

“ We can’t for the life of us understand, “ Shadis said, “ Why some Vermont elected official refuse to demand the same degree of assurance and protection as that demanded by elected officials of Maine and New York. I’m sure they’ll have some smarmy excuse, but in the end…really…history will judge.’’

END
Letter to Vermont Lead Officials and Westchester, NY News Article Attached.

New England Coalition
VT . NH . ME . MA . RI . CT . NY –
POST OFFICE BOX 545, BRATTLEBORO, VERMONT o5302
on Nuclear Pollution

March 10, 2006

Senator Patrick Leahy
433 Russell Senate Office Bldg
(at Constitution and Delaware)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-4242

P.O. Box 933
87 State Street, Room 338
Montpelier, VT 05602
__________________________________

Representative Bernard (Bernie) Sanders
Washington, DC
2233 Rayburn H.O.B., Washington DC 20515
Fax – 202-225-6790

1 Church St. 2nd Floor, Burlington, VT 05401
Fax – 802-860-6370
_____________________________________

Senator James (Jim) Jeffords
413 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

453 Stone Cutters Way
Suite 1
Montpelier, VT 05602
_____________________________________

Governor James (Jim) Douglas
109 State Street, Pavilion
Montpelier, VT 05609-0101
Fax: 802 828-3339
_______________________________________
Re: Advocacy for Independent Safety Assessment at Indian Point Nuclear Power Plants

H.R.4891
Title: To require the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to conduct an Independent Safety Assessment of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant.
Sponsor: Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] (introduced 3/7/2006) Cosponsors (4)
Latest Major Action: 3/7/2006 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Gentlemen,

As you are aware, more than 8300 area people signed petitions calling for an in-depth Independent Safety Assessment. They were seeking the same level of assurance gained for the people living in the vicinity of Maine Yankee Nuclear Power Station through the advocacy of their Governor in 1996.

As you may also be aware, the Maine Yankee Independent Safety Assessment followed upon revelations that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission had failed to confirm computer code applications regarding emergency core cooling and had thus granted Maine Yankee’s 1989 10% thermal power uprate with out adequate NRC oversight. That situation is analogous to the present circumstances at Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee; save that Maine Yankee was a 24-year-old reactor whereas Vermont Yankee has been in operation 35 years. For the initial 24 years of operation the two reactors shared the same nuclear engineering source, Yankee Nuclear Services Division, extinct after the scandal but for those sections purchased by Duke Engineering or incorporated at Vermont Yankee.

In Vermont and contiguous areas of New Hampshire and Massachusetts, more than a score of governmental bodies, including municipal and regional bodies; including the legislatures of New Hampshire and Vermont (in particular the Vermont senate) joined and supported their citizenry in the call for an extraordinary inspection and assessment (on the order, scale, and scope of that performed for Maine people at Maine Yankee) to be performed at Vermont Yankee as a prerequisite to uprate. U.S. Representative John Olver of Massachusetts, sensitive to the concerns and well being of his constituents, wrote to the NRC asking that an ISA be performed.

Now, while Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee begins experimental ascension power testing on its way to 120% of original licensed thermal power, without benefit of extraordinary on-site diagnostic physical or systemic examination, elected public servants of New York have advocated and won for their constituents the assurance of an extraordinary inspection, an “Independent Safety Assessment, “ like that done for the people of Maine.