Wednesday, September 25, 2013

No, Indian Point Unit 2's License Has Not Expired

Allow us a moment to clarify.
Over the past few weeks we've seen a lot of chatter over Indian Point Unit 2 as it enters an NRC-approved period of extended operation (PEO) beginning on September 28.

On Twitter, we're seeing a lot of statements like this one from Elizabeth Douglas of Inside Climate News. The tweet inspired NEI media manager Tom Kauffman to send Douglas the following email:
Dear Ms. Douglass,

Indian Point Unit 2’s license has not expired.

Because Entergy Corp. filed timely and comprehensive license renewal applications for both Indian Point Units 2 and 3 in April 2007, more than five years ahead of IP2’s original expiration date of Sept. 28, 2013, and more than seven years ahead of IP3’s original expiration date of Dec. 12, 2015. The early applications satisfy the requirements of the Timely Renewal Doctrine, a well-established federal law that extends the current operating license until the license renewal process is complete.

The Timely Renewal Doctrine is law under the federal Administrative Procedures Act that is generally applicable to regulatory and administrative federal agencies including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and is available to all nuclear energy facilities that apply for a 20-year license renewal at least five years before the expiration of their current license. Indian Point 2 will become the first nuclear energy facility to operate with a license extended by Timely Renewal Doctrine because of the unprecedented number of challenges to its license renewal application that must be addressed by the NRC.

Indian Point 2 will enter the period of timely renewal on September 28, 2013 and has met all of the federal requirements under the Timely Renewal Doctrine. The continued operation of Indian Point 2 under the Timely Renewal Doctrine in no way reduces the level of safety of the facility. Indian Point 2 currently meets all federal regulatory requirements, will continue to be thoroughly inspected, and must continue to adhere to all regulatory requirements. Both operating units at Indian Point are very safe and have earned the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's highest safety ratings over the past nine years and have maintained operational reliability higher than the nuclear industry’s national average. And Indian Point’s owner, Entergy Corp., has invested more than $1 billion to upgrade and enhance both operating facilities for continued safe operation.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Tom Kauffman
For more on the work being done at Indian Point during the period of extended operations, see the Indian Point website. Here at NEI, our news team has been covering the story for several weeks, including a story detailing the $1 billion in upgrades the plant has implemented over the past decade to help make it one of the most efficient in the nation.


Joffan said...

And why isn't the NRC directly rebutting this public nonsense?

In any case, the ridiculously drawn-out process of license renewal for Indian Point is in itself an indication that the NRC is simply not doing its job, certainly on a strategic level. It has become - whether through intent or spinelessness in the face of frivolous intervention - an expensive blocking mechanism for nuclear power.

Anonymous said...

What are you worried about? How is the agency "blocking" nuclear power in this process? NRC has NEVER denied a power reactor license renewal request. Not once.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, you imply that the NRC is a spineless rubber-stamping machine, in bed with the nuclear industry. False, false, false.

Years of massive paperwork and evaluation are involved, License extensions are only issued when the plant is seen to have complied with all the required refurbishments.

Anonymous said...

You're putting words in my mouth. All I said is NRC has never denied a renewal request, so I don't understand how those reviews are functioning as "an expensive blocking mechanism for nuclear power."

They can continue to operate during completion of the renewal reviews if the application was filed on a timely basis, and ultimately the application will be approved. Where's the "blocking"?

Joffan said...

@Anonymous1: NRC does indeed put expensive blocks in the way of nuclear. The surmounting of those blocks is not free, not easy and not quick. Your apparent ignorance of the money value of time is either disingenuous or disqualifies you from serious debate on these issues.

Anonymous said...

@ Joffan --

Perhaps if you browsed online a little more extensively you'd realize the NRC was way ahead of you:

You say "blocks," people who understand the process say "reasonable review requirements" that utilities have understood for more than a decade when applying for a renewed license.

Indian Point keeps on running during the review, so what was your point again?