Contacts: Paul Blanch, nuclear expert, 860-922-3119
Suzannah Glidden, 914-234-6470, Co-founder, Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE) and Treasurer, Community Watersheds Clean Water Coalition
Ellen Weininger, 646-210-0200, Co-founder SAPE and Director, Educational Outreach, Grassroots Environmental Education
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Public Outcry and Revealing Information at NRC Annual Meeting
Regarding FERC’s Approval of Spectra’s Massive Algonquin Pipeline Next to Indian Point Nuclear Facility, Major Hazard at Troubled Plant
May 18, 2015, Westchester, NY
Despite serious safety and security issues, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued its approval on March 3, 2015 for Spectra Energy’s proposed high pressure gas pipeline to be sited alongside Indian Point. The siting of this massive pipeline within 105 feet from vital structures at the aging Indian Point nuclear facility poses a dire threat to 20 million people who live in the NY metropolitan area.
According to Paul Blanch, nuclear expert who has worked at Indian Point, “the NRC’s safety analysis is based upon false, inaccurate, and unsupported information.”
On Wednesday, May 20th at 7 pm at the Westchester Marriot in Tarrytown, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will hold its annual public meeting to discuss the NRC’s assessment of safety performance at Indian Point. At the public meeting, Mr. Blanch’s comments will reveal information about the following:
– Specific misrepresentations contained within the NRC’s and Entergy’s (Indian Point operator) analyses.
– The NRC reduced its projected calculated “risk” of an explosion by more than 10,000 times, without supporting data but withfalse probability data.
– The recent fire of the main transformer may have been avoided had the full Commission not negated a court decision from the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB).
– New data from an inside source appears to indicate that million gallon fuel storage tanks within a gas line blast radius may contain flammable material. In response to three formal requests, the NRC refuses to provide a definitive response.
Furthermore, as a follow-up to the petition that Mr. Blanch filed with the NRC in October, 2014, and the subsequent communications with the NRC, Mr Blanch, backed by elected officials, requested a public meeting in the vicinity of Indian Point so that the people who are at risk can attend. While a local meeting to discuss the siting, risks, and consequences of the proposed pipeline is in accordance with NRC regulations and directives, Mr. Blanch has been informed by phone that the NRC refuses to have a such a meeting.
FERC based its approval on the NRC’s confirmation of Entergy’s safety analysis that used a pipeline rupture model that is specifically prohibited in this circumstance. Paul Blanch and Rick Kuprewicz, pipeline expert, believe that its conclusion that the gas valves could be closed prior to major nuclear damage is unsubstantiated and unrealistic.
Congresswoman Nita Lowey, Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, the Westchester Board of Legislators and other local elected officials as well as over 20,000 individuals are aware of the NRC’s inadequate and inaccurate risk assessment and have been urging FERC and the NRC to have an independent, comprehensive, transparent risk assessment conducted, completed and fully addressed before any Spectra construction is allowed. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congresswoman Lowey wrote a letter and numerous other concerned groups and individuals filed requests for a rehearing.
Despite numerous requests by public officials, the public and experts, FERC has not rescinded its approval of the AIM project. Even with the knowledge of the deficiencies in the safety analysis and of pipeline accessibility and vulnerability, Homeland Security has refused involvement and has deferred to the NRC. In response to Mr. Blanch’s petition to the NRC, the Commission stated that gas line safety is the responsibility of the Department of Transportation.
The scale of impact of a potential “Fukushima on the Hudson” on the NY metropolitan area and the economy of the United States make it beyond comprehension why FERC, Homeland Security, the NRC – or any government agency – would even consider allowing a pipeline to be sited next to Indian Point.
Who: Nonprofit organizations, community groups, impacted residents and elected officials from across New York tri-state region.
When: Wednesday, May 20, 2015, 7-9 pm
Where: Westchester Marriott, 670 White Plains Road, Grand Ballroom, Tarrytown, NY.