WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (D, I-Ossining) has called for an independent, in-depth safety analysis by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which she says must rescind approval of Spectra's AIM Pipeline sitting at Indian Point.
Spectra Energy has filed its Algonquin Incremental Market project application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The AIM project calls for installing a high-pressure, 42-inch natural gas pipeline that will pass fewer than two hundred feet from vital Indian Point structures and about one-quarter mile from the Indian Point Energy Center's Unit 2 and Unit 3 nuclear reactors. Galef said the NRC needs to require a full and complete independent analysis of the AIM project's safety in relation to Indian Point.
Entergy, operator of the Indian Point nuclear power plants, conducted a safety assessment of the proposed gas line siting. Spectra came up with the three-minute gas pipeline shutdown estimate, which then was accepted by the NRC, the federal agency responsible for the safety of all nuclear power plants in the United States.
"It is irresponsible to take a recommendation from a company like Spectra that wants their business to be here and not independently validate it. The safety of the people in the Hudson Valley region should take precedence over the interests of two energy production companies. There is no other place in this country where a gas pipeline comes as close to a nuclear power plant as there is here, so it requires above and beyond oversight and analysis," Galef said. The NRC actions violate its own regulatory obligations to require verifiable safety testing methodology and results for systems related to Indian Point, she said.
To compound the failure of these agencies, FERC then accepted the NRC's explanation, Galef said. Upon a detailed review, pipeline expert Rick Kuprewicz and nuclear expert Paul Blanch have concluded the estimated shutdown timeframe of three minutes, should an explosion occur, is inaccurate and defies the law of thermodynamics. In spite of requests from members of the U.S. House and Senate as well as Assemblywoman Galef, Westchester County legislators and local elected officials, the NRC and FERC have refused to require Entergy or Spectra to have their claims verified by an independent analysis.
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