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March 10, 2004

Indian Point declared 'fit' by federal Nuclear Regulatory Committee

The Nuclear Regulatory Committee, the federal regulatory committee that oversees nuclear power, has declared the nuclear reactors at Indian Point nuclear power plant “fit,” and changed the plant’s level of oversight from “heightened” to “standard.”

The Committee said safety issues at the plant concerning faulty construction had been resolved, and the plant was now eligible for the NRC’s highest rating.

Entergy Corporation, which owns and operates Indian Point, spent millions on improvements at the Westchester plant.

“We knew we had to address some of the issues we became aware of during our due diligence,” said Entergy spokesman Jim Streets. “This is a good indication that we’ve been effective.”

The Business Council has argued the plant is necessary to help meet the state’s energy needs.

The plant, which supplies 20 percent of the power used in New York City, is vital to the state’s economy, said Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh in a May, 2002 letter to New York City leaders.

If it closed, "our already-high energy costs would rise by more than $1 billion a year, with price spikes of as much as 40 percent," Walsh wrote. " Such price increases would have the greatest impact on New York City's lower-income residents-those who can least afford them."

A February, 2002 report by The Public Policy Institute warned that New York already faces a dangerous energy gap. In that report, The Power to Grow, The Institute concluded that New York must add at least a dozen new power plants with capacity totaling at least 9,200 megawatts in the next five years.

Other organizations, including the New York Independent System Operator (ISO), have reached similar conclusions about New York’s capacity shortfall. The ISO has said that the city alone will need as much as 3,000 megawatts of new generating capacity by 2005.