Nuclear plant's fire safety the latest issue for Schneiderman

Bryan Cohen Mar. 28, 2011, 1:45pm


NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a petition on Monday with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission stressing urging action against the Indian Point nuclear power plant.

The petition follows last month's suit that pressed the NRC to study the safety impact of storing spent nuclear fuel on site. Monday's action is part of a series of actions Schneiderman has taken to promote transparent, comprehensive and vigilant reviews of the Buchanan, N.Y., plant before a decision is made on whether or not the plant's operating license should be extended for another 20 years.

Indian Point is currently in violation of established fire safety regulations, Schneiderman says, adding it has sought more than 100 exemptions from those regulations.

"In the wake of Japan's crisis, our country's nuclear facilities should be bolstering their safety measures, yet Indian Point is looking to weaken its precautionary measures," Schneiderman said. "It is absolutely essential for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to compel the facility to comply with all fire safety measures - both to secure the plant's emergency systems and ensure the safety of the tens of millions of people living in the region."

The plant has sought exemption from fire safety requirements that include the installation of required fire detectors or suppression systems in various locations and the strengthening of electrical cables to withstand additional fire damage. Additionally, the plant had employees perform manual fire response actions that were not authorized by the NRC instead of installing automatic response systems, Schneiderman says.

"Whether or not you support nuclear power or the relicensing of Indian Point, we can all agree that the plant must be required to operate within full compliance of all safety measures," Schneiderman said.

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