October 17, 2011 / 1:55 PM / 6 years ago

Enviro groups to point out NY Indian Pt nuke risks

* NY Gov. wants Indian Point shut in 2013 and 2015

* Entergy wants to run reactors for another 20 years

* NRC to take years to decide on new reactor licenses

NEW YORK, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Two environmental groups said they will reveal new information about the safety of the giant 2,065-megawatt Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York and discuss some options to replace the plant if it is shut.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Riverkeeper said they will be “revealing new information about the risks associated with an emergency at Indian Point,” which is located about 45 miles north of Midtown Manhattan.

One New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants the reactors to shut when their licenses expire in 2013 and 2015 due in part to his concerns for safety in having two reactors in the New York metropolitan area, which is home to about 19 million people.

Entergy , the second biggest nuclear power operator in the United States and Indian Point’s owner, want to run the plant running for another 20 years after the original 40-year operating licenses expire.

Officials at Entergy were not immediately available for comment.

The staff at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has already determined the two reactors at the nuclear plant are safe to run for another 20 years.

But it will likely take years before the NRC commissioners decide whether to renew the reactors’ licenses. Fist, the agency’s judicial board, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB), must hear numerous contentions opposed to the relicensing and expected appeals before the commissioners get to make the final decision.

New York depends on Indian Point for about 25 percent of the power used in New York City and Westchester County, where the plant is located. It can produce enough power to supply about two million homes.

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), which operates the state’s power grid, has already said the shutdown of Indian Point would leave the city vulnerable to blackouts and other reliability problems.

New York’s power company, Consolidated Edison , has warned the shutdown of Indian Point would boost the already high cost of power in the Big Apple.

Power prices in New York are already among the highest in the nation. The average retail price of power in New York is about 15.5 cents per kilowatt hour versus 9.8 cents for the national average.

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