Regulator to update environmental study on reactor near NYC

Fri Mar 16, 2012 4:32pm EDT

(Reuters) - Nuclear regulators plan to issue a new environmental report for Entergy Corp's Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York to update potential impacts on aquatic life in the Hudson River.

In a statement, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said its staff plans to have a draft supplement to the Final Environmental Impact Statement prepared for the plant's license renewal application ready for public comment later this year.

The update will be based on new information that has become available since the report was issued in December 2010.

In that 2010 environmental report, the NRC staff recommended the approval of a license extension for the plant.

Entergy filed in 2007 with the NRC to run the 2,063-megawatt (MW) nuclear plant for another 20 years after the plant's two reactor's original 40-year operating licenses expire in 2013 and 2015.

However, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants the plant shut in part because he thinks it is not safe to have a nuclear plant located in the heavily populated New York metropolitan area just 45 miles north of Manhattan.

In a statement, Entergy said it "appreciates the opportunity to provide to the NRC additional data on the record that we believe helps demonstrate Indian Point will comply with environmental regulations under a renewed license."

The NRC said it will evaluate new information on endangered species and details from Entergy on the danger to fish from the plant's water intake and cooling systems.

The water in the reactor does not mix with the river water.

Entergy will still have a long wait before the commission decides whether to renew the Indian Point licenses.

The NRC's judicial arm, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB), is not expected to hold evidentiary hearings until later this year on the 15 or so contentions already filed with the agency against the renewal.

Riverkeeper, an environmental group, and others have said they plan to file additional contentions based on the Atlantic sturgeon, which is present in the Hudson River, being listed as an Endangered Species.

(Reporting By Scott DiSavino; Editing by Alden Bentley)

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