Governor Andrew Cuomo last week directed the state Public Service Commission to launch a full investigation into the operations and safety protocols at the Indian Point nuclear facility in Buchanan following the unexpected shutdown of Indian Point Unit 3 on December 14.
In his December 16 letter to PSC Chairwoman Audrey Zibelman, Cuomo pointed out there has been 13 unplanned shutdowns at Indian Point since June 2012 and an additional four planned but unanticipated shutdowns.
“This simply is unacceptable. New Yorkers deserve better from Indian Point’s owners,” stated Cuomo, who has been a long proponent of Entergy not receiving the go-ahead from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to operate the plants for another 20 years after its current 30-year license expires this year.
“These unplanned outages are intolerable and stand to support our contention that this facility and its aging infrastructure is at the end of its useful life,” Cuomo stated. “New York State will not sit idly by while the NRC and Entergy drag out the federal relicensing proceedings. While these facilities continue to operate beyond their license date, we have an obligation to ensure that they are properly maintained and that timely investments in critical infrastructure are neither delayed nor deferred.”
In his request to Zibelman, Cuomo called on the PSC to specifically examine the capital and maintenance budgets at the plants and their potential impact on the recent outages and how the outages can affect the long-term continued safe operations of Indian Point.
Cuomo asked Zibelman to present the PSC’s findings by February 15.
In the meantime, Entergy has received permission to continue operating Indian Point while the NRC reviews its relicensing application, a process that is expected to linger into 2017.