Nuclear plant

Local Petitioners Speak at NRC Hearing on FitzPatrick Reactor Safety


For Immediate Release
April 17, 2012

SUMMARY: Representatives from local, statewide and national organizations testified at a hearing today at 12:30 in front of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Petition Review Board in Rockville, MD regarding the petition filed by the Syracuse-based Alliance for a Green Economy and the Washington, DC-based Beyond Nuclear requesting emergency enforcement action against Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. with regard to the undue risk to the public health and safety caused by the continued operation of the FitzPatrick nuclear reactor in Scriba, New York. The petition now has approximately 300 co-signers. Petitioners participated through written statements submitted in advance as well as oral statements in person and via conference call. A full transcript will be made available to the public by the NRC. Selected statements are available now at the links above.

DETAILS: On March 9, 2012, the Alliance for a Green Economy and Beyond Nuclear filed a petition with the NRC asking for an emergency enforcement action against the James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power plant. This plant is located in Scriba, just 36 miles from Syracuse. The petition asks for the immediate suspension of the plant’s operating license, public hearings on the safety of the plant, and the public release of a post-Fukushima safety reassessment. There are now approximately 300 co-signers on the petition. A full transcript of the hearing will be made available by the NRC.

The FitzPatrick reactor is a Mark I Boiling Water Reactor, the same design as the plants that experienced melt-downs during the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. The groups petitioning the NRC have discovered that FitzPatrick is the only plant of its kind in the United States that did not install an NRC-recommended hardened vent system, designed to be used to decrease the severity of a nuclear accident. Instead, the NRC has so far allowed the plant to operate with an emergency venting plan it acknowledges is beyond the plant’s licensing basis. 

“If NRC is willing to let this reactor operate without its most critical safety system, what other safety margins are they willing to let Entergy compromise?” asked Tim Judson, President of Citizens Awareness Network. “Entergy’s plan, if you can call it that, is to vent steam, radioactivity, and hydrogen into areas where workers will be trying to stop the accident, praying that it doesn’t explode like three of the reactors did at Fukushima. Every day NRC lets FitzPatrick operate is a game of Russian roulette, and no community should be forced to live with the danger that poses,” concluded Judson.

The NRC has issued orders that FitzPatrick and other Mark I reactors install a “reliable” hardened vent. However, those orders are not yet detailed and the deadline for completion is 2016. More information about the petition can be found at the Alliance for a Green Economy website: Representatives from the Alliance for a Green Economy and Beyond Nuclear are available for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Jessica Maxwell, Syracuse Peace Council, (315) 472-5478
Jessica Azulay, Alliance for a Green Economy, (315) 480-1515
Paul Gunter, Beyond Nuclear, 301-523-0201,

Statements Available Online Now!
Jean Kessner
Syracuse Common
Jessica Azulay, AGREE organizer:
Linda DeStefano, Sierra Club (Atlantic Chapter):