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Forum to Focus on Safety of Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants

Indian Point is one of several nuclear power plants across the country scheduled for decommissioning. (mandritoiu/Adobe Stock)
Indian Point is one of several nuclear power plants across the country scheduled for decommissioning. (mandritoiu/Adobe Stock)
October 9, 2019

MONTROSE, N.Y. - Elected officials, environmental groups and scientists will gather in Montrose on Thursday for a regional forum on decommissioning nuclear power plants, including Indian Point.

The forum will address an audience of federal, state and local officials and citizens about public safety concerns around the decommissioning process. According to Manna Jo Greene, environmental director for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, one major concern is that the private companies being considered for the work want to transport the waste to interim storage sites in Texas and New Mexico.

"That would be bringing this highly radioactive waste through communities," she said, "by potentially bumpy and unsuitable roads or rail, or barge."

Holtec International, the company acquiring the Indian Point licenses, has said the sale means decommissioning will be completed decades sooner than if Entergy continued to own the plants.

Holtec also is decommissioning the Oyster Creek nuclear plant in New Jersey. Greene said both Indian Point and Oyster Creek use fuel that is so hot and radioactive that it needs to cool off in pools for five to seven years after it is removed from the reactors.

"At Oyster Creek," she said, "they're saying they're going to complete the process, including emptying the fuel out of the fuel pools into dry casks, in two to three years."

She said the business model of private decommissioning companies involves doing the work quickly and inexpensively, turning money left over from the decommissioning funds into profit.

The forum will include safety experts, watchdog groups and officials from cities where nuclear plants have been decommissioned. Greene said raising the issues now gives regulators and legislators the information they need to protect the public.

"Putting public health and safety first is our goal," she said, "and providing the best available information seems like the best action to take to ensure that."

The forum is to start at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Hendrick Hudson Free Library in Montrose. Space is limited, but the event will be videotaped.

More information is online at surveymonkey.com.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY