EPA Endorses Schedule for Environmental Actions at the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant
(New York, N.Y.) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg today announced his endorsement of a schedule for stopping the source of the leak from the spent fuel pool in Unit No.1 at the Indian Point Nuclear Generating Plant in Buchanan, New York. The work will be carried out by Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc., the operator of the Indian Point plant, under the oversight of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the federal agency with responsibility for licensing nuclear power plants. Unit No. 1, one of three units at the facility, is not operational and is in safe storage mode. The water in the pool has been continuously filtered since April 2007, greatly reducing the radionuclide concentrations.
The work schedule calls for the removal of the spent fuel in the pool during the summer of 2008. Then the water will be removed from the pool, and discharged into the Hudson River after being treated, consistent with NRC regulatory requirements and the terms of the existing New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) discharge permit for the facility. That work is scheduled for completion by the end of 2008.
“EPA is very pleased that Entergy has a schedule in place to remove the source of the spent fuel pool leak efficiently and in a timely fashion with NRC and state oversight,” said Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “We support these proactive steps to ensure that operations at the facility are protective of people’s health and the environment.”
Since the discovery of the leak in the spent fuel pool, EPA has consulted regularly with the NRC and the New York State DEC. EPA has reviewed data related to the leak and confirmed with New York State that there have been no violations of federal drinking water standards for radionuclides in drinking water supplies.
In a separate matter, EPA is today releasing its comments on the scope of the environmental impact review that will be conducted by the NRC in connection with Entergy’s license renewal application for Indian Point Nuclear Generating Units Nos. 2 and 3. Entergy, the operator of these units, has filed an application with the NRC to renew the operating licenses for the two units for twenty years beyond the end of the current license terms. Unit No. 1 is not part of the license renewal application.
The NRC expects to complete its review and decide whether or not to grant Entergy’s license renewal request in July 2009 or later. Before making that decision, the NRC will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS), as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. That law requires federal agencies to integrate environmental values into their decision-making processes by considering the environmental impacts of proposed actions and reasonable alternatives to those actions.
EPA will undertake a careful review of the NRC’s EIS and the potential environmental impacts of license renewal. EPA’s comments on the EIS will be made public.
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