Waste Storage Becomes Issue in Indian Point Relicensing

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A federal regulatory body will consider the issue of nuclear waste storage before making a decision on whether Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, located north of the city, will get its licenses renewed.

The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it will consider the dangers of keeping radioactive waste in a dense suburban area, before making any decision on whether to relicense two aging reactors at Indian Point. A federal Court of Appeals ruled in June that the NRC violated the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires the agency to examine public health, safety and environmental hazards that nuclear waste storage would pose to communities.

State attorney general Eric Schneiderman, who sued the NRC over the issue, called the decision a victory for the people living nearby. “The NRC’s commitment is a welcome step toward ensuring a full, fair and open examination of the numerous critical questions about the safety and environmental impact of Indian Point before and decisions are made about extending its operation licenses for another 20 years.”

Spent nuclear fuel remains toxic for thousands of years, and currently, there's no permanent storage place. The waste produced by the plant stays on site.

Entergy, the owner of Indian Point, did not immediately comment. Indian Point's two licenses expire in 2014 and 2016.