* Objections over plant’s accident mitigation analysis
* Cuomo says plant couldn’t be built so close to NYC today
* NRC to hold hearing on contentions later this year
NEW YORK, March 19 (Reuters) - New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has filed new objections to renewing the license of Entergy Corp’s (ETR.N) Indian Point nuclear power reactors, saying the plant poses too much of a safety risk to the densely populated New York City area.
The continued operation of the 2,045-megawatt plant for an additional 20 years has the potential to affect more people than any other reactor in the country, Cuomo said in his filing last week with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which has been considering renewing the plant’s license since 2007.
Indian Point is located just 45 miles (72 km) north of New York City.
“It is highly unlikely the Indian Point reactors could be located today in this densely populated area,” said Cuomo, noting that more than 17 million people living within 50 miles of the plant.
Cuomo, a Democrat long opposed to the continued operation of the Indian Point plant, is expected to announce plans to run for the New York governor’s office at the end of March.
Entergy argues that the plant is safe and submitted to the NRC a new Severe Accident Mitigation Alternatives (SAMA) analysis in December. SAMA is a cost benefit analysis of what kind of modifications a nuclear operator could do to the reactor to make it safer.
The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB), the NRC’s judicial arm, is already dealing with 15 or so contentions against the license renewal, including a couple from the Attorney General’s office.
The ASLB expects to hold a hearing on the contentions later this year but has not set a specific date.
Entergy filed with the NRC in 2007 to renew the original 40-year reactor licenses for an additional 20 years. In a noncontentious license renewal, the NRC has made decisions in less than two years, but Indian Point is contentious.
The Indian Point reactor licenses expire in 2013 and 2015. (Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)