A very large gas pipeline will soon skirt the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC), an aging nuclear power plant that stands in the town of Cortlandt in Westchester County, New York, 30 miles north of Manhattan. The federal agencies that have permitted the project have bowed to two corporations — the pipeline’s owner, Spectra Energy, and Entergy, which bought the Indian Point complex in 2001 from its former owner.
A hazards assessment by a former employee of one of the plant’s prior owners, replete with errors, was the basis for the go-ahead. A dearth of mainstream press coverage leaves ignorant the New York metropolitan region’s population of 20 million people, which stands to be impacted by a nuclear catastrophe. Experts say a disaster as great as or greater than Fukushima could be triggered by a potential gas explosion at the nuclear complex.
I urge readers of this blog to read the original report for Truthout on which it is based, “Doing the Unthinkable: A Giant Gas Pipeline to Flank a Nuclear Plant.”
The process by which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission judged this lunatic “project” safe started when Spectra, owner of the pipeline, commissioned a hazards assessment by a former employee of one of Indian Point’s prior owners before the corporation Entergy bought it in 2001. The assessment was replete with shocking errors. Paul Blanch submitted a petition to the NRC requesting it “take enforcement action” against Entergy “for providing inaccurate and incomplete information to the NRC” and requiring that the company explain itself. ” Richard Kuprewicz, President of Accufacts, Inc., retained as a consultant by the town of Cortlandt where the nuclear plant stands, is quoted in Blanch’s petition
Entergy’s [document] contains numerous errors that are either an attempt to deceive decision makers, or reflect an incredible lack of pipeline experience, in appreciating the real risks associated with a large 42-inch gas transmission pipeline rupture in a very sensitive area.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission ignored both experts’ evaluations and judged the report adequate. On the basis of the NRC’s evaluation FERC approved this “project,” which places 20 million people at risk of nuclear peril. The whole business is not only a testimony to corporate recklessness and greed — these are to be expected from the fossil fuel industry in general and the fracking industry in particular — but to both FERC’s and the NRC’s prostration before corporations, and to their dereliction of responsibility to the safety of New York State’s citizens.
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