Indian Point Site Vice President Testifies Before New York State Energy Panel

On the evening of September 24, 2009 in New Paltz, New York, Indian Point Energy Center Site Vice President Joe Pollock presented testimony to the New York State Energy Planning Board regarding their draft Energy Plan proposal for the state.

Pollock's testimony reflected the expert opinions of many independent authorities and governing bodies that all agree, Indian Point is safe and secure, as well as a vital economic, environmental and power-generating resource to the region.

New York State draft energy plan final oral testimony

Good evening. My name is Joe Pollock, site vice president for Entergy Nuclear's Indian Point Energy Center, which includes operating units 2 and 3.

First, let me thank the committee for this opportunity to speak today and commend the governor for reviving the state energy planning process.

All prior state energy plans have recognized the importance of Indian Point.

Today I would like to present to you the facts that warrant continuing the policy embraced by the previous energy plans and acknowledge Indian Point as a critical resource. Indian point's 2 million kilowatts of clean power play a critical role in meeting the regional greenhouse gas initiatives, known as RGGI. You can not meet RGGI without Indian Point.

Rather than single out Indian Point as a “problem,” the plan should embrace it as a solution for New York's energy needs and vehicle for realizing its environmental goals.

When concerns were raised about safety and security at Indian Point, Entergy listened and did something about it; and where concerns persisted, Entergy brought in independent security and safety experts. And of course, the NRC is always reviewing safety at Indian Point.

Others have also conducted independent reviews focusing on Indian Point's role in providing electricity in New York.

Let me cite the conclusions drawn by the experts who spent thousands of hours performing those independent assessments.

Closing Indian Point would result in the loss of thousands of high-paying jobs and the loss of a billion dollars of direct economic impact. Closing Indian Point would immediately increase air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions.

It is disappointing that the plan would ignore these facts and cite only the claims for opposing Indian point's relicensing; claims that pale in comparison to the large body of independently verified and corroborated evidence that supports Indian Point's continued operation.

For example, the national academy of sciences — with the support of congressional funding — concluded that while replacing the plants is technically feasible, it would result in decreased electric reliability, increased air pollution, and significantly higher power costs for New Yorkers.

The New York independent system operator has consistently stated that the stability of the grid would be threatened if Indian Point was closed. In its most recent reliability report, NYISO states, “…retirement of (just) one of the two Indian Point nuclear units would cause an immediate violation of reliability standards.”

In addition to NYISO, a multitude of other independent energy experts and organizations have come to the same conclusion — as a practical matter, you can't shut down Indian Point. (pause)

Entergy owns and operates eleven nuclear plants, several right here in New York. Their power provides a base upon which many of the alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind power, can be built.

Since purchasing the plants, Entergy has invested hundreds-of-millions of dollars in improvements.

As a result, we have significantly raised both the safety and operating performances of these plants. Today, Entergy's plants consistently get the NRC's top safety rating.

Entergy has also raised the reliability of these plants to over 97% from a previous historic average in the 60% range.

After 9/11, when security at Indian Point was questioned, York state office of public security director James Kallstrom lead a team of experts and conducted a far-reaching security assessment working closely with the F.B.I. Kallstrom said, “security at the plant is robust.”

The U.S. office of homeland security, NRC and others have all conducted assessments and found Indian Point to be well-protected and secure.

Independent experts have also reviewed our emergency plans and noted they are among the best in the country.

In the comprehensive independent safety evaluation done in 2008, twelve panelists spent thousands of hours analyzing every aspect of plant operations. These highly respected individuals from both the private and public sectors have expertise in nuclear safety, engineering, operations, security, and emergency planning.

Their findings were published in a public report with the following conclusions:

  • Indian point meets the U.S.. nuclear industry's highest standards;
  • Operations are conducted competently and professionally;
  • And Indian Point is safe.

I personally recommend the panel review the report, especially the appendix which addresses in detail all the public concerns raised in the past five years.

In closing, i ask that you remove the language that suggests the state would be better without Indian Point.

There are many independent experts who have spent thousands of hours reviewing safety and security at Indian Point and the critical role the plants play in providing clean and reliable electricity. I have provided copies of their reports for your review.

I ask that you review these reports with the same diligence as the professionals who dedicated themselves to getting to the truth about Indian Point. I urge you to support the continued operation of all nuclear plants in our great state of New York. Thank you.