Indian Point Celebrates Earth Day
                               April 22, 2010
                               Courtland Manor, NY

                               by Marilyn Elie

"Two things of note happened at this meeting: the NRC is now talking of monitoring underground pipes with "non invasive methods."  It was not clear to me how this will work. Sam Collins stated that Indian Point could not be relicensed without a water quality certificate.  My best guess is that they will find a way to change the requirements, despite what was said."

Cast of Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Characters

Dear All,

Here is a brief and belated report on the last NRC at Colonial Terrace.  First of all, many thanks to those who came and set through yet another meeting where the regulatory body and the company it is supposed to regulate are hard to tell apart.  It was important for the NRC to see that this is still a critical issue for our community and to know that they are being actively watched in their decision making process by an informed citizenry.  We made a good showing.

Many men from the International Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 11 and Local 424 also attended.  I spoke to two of them at some length when they stopped by our information table.  They were both amiable and somewhat curious. Both listened and one took some brochures to read, and, as he said, to show his wife so that she would know that he really was at a union event.  They came by straight from their work in Croton and the union provided them with dinner and a tee shirt.  When I asked them why they came they were rather vague and spoke of supporting union brothers at Indian Point. Interestingly, no union members from Indian Point were there. There has always been talk of how union members are paid to attend these events and someone said as much during the question and answer session.  One of the union organizers replied with great indignation that no one received any pay for coming and that his men would much rather be at home eating a good home cooked meal.  Technically he was correct, however as with all things nuclear the devil is in the details.

As it turns out, some unions in this area have a clause in their contract that stipulates members are required to attend two events per year.  They have to "get their ticket punched" to prove they attended a certified event or else must pay a $500 fine at the end of the year.   Another clue that this was not entirely voluntary was they way they all made for the door the minute the presentations were over while everyone else settled in for the Q and A. If you missed the Daily News article (pdf) about how the Bronx comes to Westchester which was distributed on the listserv after the event, it is well worth reading for the details on just how this works.

We held a press conference prior to the meeting and nuclear expert Paul Blanch joined us. He has followed Indian Point closely over the years and has many concerns about safety issues.  He is also most concerned about the natural gas pipe line that runs above ground about 100 yards from Indian Point 2.  If there was a catastrophic accident at the reactor, chances are it could involve the gas line.  Conversely, blowing up the gas line could damage the containment building and as the volcano in Iceland has shown, in reality smoke does not follow the nice neat pie wedge patterns that Entergy has delineated in their phony evacuation plan.

For the first time mention was made of "non intrusive" ways to inspect underground pipes that have been out of sight for decades. Regional Director Sam Collins admitted that NRC regs might not be adequate for underground pipes. He also stated that the license could not be renewed without a water quality certificate. Entergy is currently appealing the DEC decision to not issue one and is waging a mighty pr campaign for wedgewire technology which they claim is superior to closed cycle cooling. Wedgewire was designed as screening for plants on lakes, not fast moving rivers, neither does it do anything about thermal pollution that is so deadly to the ecosystem. The DEC opinion is a strong one based on science and is one we all need to support so that Entergy does not win in the court of public opinion. Speak up about this every chance you get!

One final note: candidates are already mobilizing for the fall elections.  Make sure you know who is running in your community and make it a point to ask them about Indian Point.

Marilyn Elie
eliewestcan (at)


"At the Press Conference prior to the meeting, Paul Blanch, expert witness exposed
the gas line that runs above ground within a 100 yards of Indian Point."

Blanch Declaration PDF - NRC Statement PDF

Paul M. Blanch
Energy Consultant
135 Hyde Rd.
West Hartford, CT 06117
Cell 860-922-3119
Office 860-236-0326
pmblanch (at)

From Gary Shaw
Steering Committee of the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition.

On Earth Day, I attended the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's annual review of Indian Point and something very interesting came to light. Entergy spokespeople talked extensively about its programs to evaluate more than a mile of underground pipes that have had numerous failures and radioactive water leak problems. They used the term "nondisruptive" to describe their programs. That means they will not dig anywhere, and neither the company nor the NRC will be able to visually inspect pipes and welds despite a number of failures in the past. The major leak of February 2009 in which they acknowledged at least 100,000 gallons of tritiated water leaked came from a pipe that had not been inspected since 1973. I asked the NRC regional director, Sam Collins, whether this lack of visual inspection meant that the NRC cannot prevent radioactive leaks from occurring, and his response was that they had already acknowledged that there are gaps in the pipe-inspection programs.

He also indicated that there will likely be more pipes leaking in the future. The already old and leaking pipes at Indian Point will not get better over time. Giving the plant a new license to continue operating for another 20 years simply invites more danger to the public and more radioactive pollution of our environment. Decommissioning a nuclear plant is a labor-intensive job that will last for a substantial number of years. The sooner we start the better.

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