Advocates fight to close nuclear plant
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CENTRAL NEW YORK -- A local advocacy group working to close an Oswego County nuclear plant shared its safety concerns Tuesday with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Members of the Syracuse-based Alliance for a Green Economy joined other anti-nuclear advocates in a phone conference with the NRC to discuss their petition filed in March, which calls for the immediate closure of the James A. FitzPatrick nuclear plant in Scriba.
The advocates believe FitzPatrick is a danger to the public because they allege the plant has not installed the proper hardened venting system needed for operation of their "Mark One" reactor. The NRC listened to their concerns, but denied the immediate petition to close the plant.
Following the nuclear disaster in Japan last year, NRC officials released guidelines for all nuclear plants with "Mark One" reactors regarding their venting systems, but the plants have until 2016 to put an upgrade plan into action.
"Their argument is that FitzPatrick did not install the kind of hardened vent system that was required by the NRC back in the 1980s. We're continuing to look at that. Obviously, we don't even have the company's plan yet for ensuring it's got a reliable venting system," said Neil Sheehan, Public Affairs Officer of the NRC.
In response, FitzPatrick officials released a statement saying, "We are in full compliance with current regulatory requirements regarding the plant's hardened vent....Entergy is reviewing the NRC's orders issued on March 12th 2012 and will take action to comply with the orders and regulations."
The NRC says it is still considering Alliance for a Green Economy's petition and they have until 180 days past the petition's submission to come to a decision about FitzPatrick. Meanwhile, the NRC wants to ensure the public they believe the plant is operating safely.