Last Thursday, May 17, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission held a n Tarrytown to discuss the results of its annual safety assessment of the Indian Point Energy Center.
This annual meeting is becoming a well known news event, as is the fact that Indian Point is continuing to earn the NRC’s highest safety rating – green – which it has achieved for the last eight years.
The current rating is based on more than 11,000 hours of inspections in 2011 by the independent federal safety investigators at the NRC. As has become custom, the meeting drew a large crowd, representing both sides of the Indian Point debate.
Representatives from business, labor, and community groups throughout the Westchester region stressed Indian Point’s critical role in ensuring electric reliability, affordable energy, and continued economic viability for New York and the downstate region in particular.
They pointed out that Indian Point is responsible for generating 11,000 jobs in the Lower Hudson Valley and essential to Westchester’s economic growth.
This is consistent with the perspective of residents in the Hudson Valley. According to a Marist Poll, 55 percent of registered voters support nuclear power and 49 percent of registered voters who live near the plant oppose closing Indian Point.
Despite eight years in a row of top safety ratings, and the most exhaustive license renewal process in the history of nuclear power plants, Indian Point is still awaiting a license renewal decision. The NRC should issue the 20-year license renewal as soon as possible.
Indian Point’s consistently generated, competitively priced, base load power provides 30 percent of the New York City region’s power. Furthermore, replacing Indian Point would lead to deterioration in the region’s air quality, causing many health and other problems.
New York already has many major electricity challenges in the coming years, with Indian Point continuing to operate. Without Indian Point, the region would have vast economic uncertainty, which we can ill afford in these times.
# # #
Rich Thomas is Director of the New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance (New York AREA) a diverse group of more than 150 business, labor and community groups and individuals whose mission and purpose is to ensure that the New York metropolitan area has an ample and reliable electricity supply, and economic prosperity for years to come. Entergy, the owner of Indian Point, is a member of New York AREA. For additional information, visit <www.area-alliance.org>.