Court Orders Nuclear Regulatory Commission to Explain Why it Exempted Indian Point Reactor from Fire Safety Regulations

Sunday, January 13, 2013
Dale Kelin, chairman of the NRC when the Indian Point exemption was made

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has been ordered by a three-judge panel to explain why it exempted one of the oldest nuclear power plants in the United States from fire-safety regulations.


Indian Point nuclear reactor, located about 25 miles from New York City, was given a pass in 2007 by the NRC to avoid upgrading its systems to prevent fires. 


This decision alarmed a former state lawmaker, Richard Brodsky, and three environmental groups, prompting a lawsuit against the NRC.


After losing their fight before a U.S. district judge, the plaintiffs took their case to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, where the appeals court panel decided the federal government must reveal their reasoning for exempting Indian Point.


Governor Andrew Cuomo, while serving as state attorney general, sought to force the NRC to close down the nuclear plant, citing its potential danger to tens of millions of New Yorkers.


The current attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, has continued Cuomo’s fight. Schneiderman publicly accused the plant’s owner, Entergy, of not installing fire detectors or fire suppression systems and not reinforcing electrical cables to withstand prolonged exposure to fire.


The NRC also stands accused of closing off public debate before granting the exemption and it is this transgression that led the appellate judges to issue their ruling.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Feds Must Shine Light on Indian Point Decision (by Adam Klasfeld, Courthouse News Service)

Brodsky v. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (Second Circuit Court of Appeals) (pdf)

Indian Point Nuclear Plant Accused of Violating Safety Rules (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Nuclear Accident in U.S. Would Cost Taxpayers a Fortune (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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