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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

Indian Point Transformer Fire Raises Questions about New Pipeline Approval

recent transformer fire at the Indian Point nuclear facility in nearby Westchester, New York, garnered wide coverage in global and local media. However, there was no mention of Spectra Energy’s proposed new 42-inch diameter high pressure natural gas pipeline, which may present a new hazard to the troubled plant. For more than a year, local, state, county and federal elected officials and the public have been calling for an independent risk assessment of the siting of a massive new gas pipeline in close proximity to the aging nuclear plant’s vital structures. In addition, they are also asking that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rescind its approval of the Algonquin Incremental Market project.

Rick Kuprewicz of Accufacts, a pipeline expert engaged by the Town of Cortlandt to evaluate the project’s impacts on the plant, joined Paul Blanch, a nuclear expert with over 45 years of nuclear safety experience, to analyze the Entergy hazard study that was confirmed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Both believe the study severely underestimates the risk of catastrophic failure at the plant in the event of a pipeline rupture. After submitting a formal petition to the NRC in October 2014, Blanch has requested a local venue for a final presentation to the NRC’s Petition Review Board. A local meeting would be in compliance with NRC guidelines regarding public participation because it would enable all stakeholders, including New York Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Governor Cuomo and the public, to attend the presentation.

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