HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen says he opposes the relicensing of two Indian Point nuclear reactors in nearby New York until a "thorough and complete" investigation is done.
Jepsen said Thursday he wants the environmental impacts of continuing their operation for 20 years studied -- in particular, spent fuel storage, the potential threat to public drinking water supplies and relocating large numbers of people in the event of an accident.
In his written comments to the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, the attorney general said he was concerned about the health and safety of Connecticut residents.
The NRC board is currently reviewing Entergy Nuclear Northeast's relicensing application for its Indian Point Units 2 and 3 in Buchanan, N.Y.
"An accident or attack at Indian Point that resulted in a release of radioisotopes could result in a major plume of wind-driven radioactive debris that would immediately impact human health and safety in Connecticut," Jepsen wrote in his 14-page statement of position.
"There is no federal first response organization or system in place to address a major incident or release at Indian Point."
He continued, "State and local officials will be the ones to respond in an emergency and the full financial burden of both responding to the initial incident, and to any evacuation and resettlement of displaced persons, will fall on state and local budgets."
According to Jepsen's office, about one-third of Connecticut's population, including Litchfield and Fairfield counties and Bridgeport, the state's largest city, are within a 50-mile radius of the plant.
Important surface water resources are also located within this zone, including major river systems and numerous lakes and reservoirs of public importance, the attorney general noted.
Jepsen argued in his comments that continued operation of the plants would "result in the accumulation of two more decades' worth of spent nuclear fuel at a facility that is already overloaded."
Without a federal long-term storage facility, the spent fuel will remain on site indefinitely. "The environmental consequences of this result in the post-operating period have never been analyzed," the attorney general wrote.
"The NRC is obligated by law to complete a thorough and accurate environmental analysis of potential impacts of relicensing of Indian Point and to take a 'hard look' at these adverse impacts before approving an extension of the operating license.
"If the NRC cannot ensure full evaluations and safe solutions to all of these problems, then it cannot relicense this facility."
From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.