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      Group calls for Scriba's Fitzpatrick nuclear plant to be shut down

      James A. Fitzpatrick nuclear reactor

      A statewide alliance is calling on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to suspend operations at the James A. Fitzpatrick nuclear reactor in Scriba in Oswego County.

      It comes on the one-year anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

      The Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE) says it has obtained documents showing the Fitzpatrick plant is the only one in the U.S. that did not comply with a 1989 NRC recommendation to address known safety vulnerabilities.

      AGREE and Beyond Nuclear, a Washington DC-based nuclear watchdog organization, gathered on Lodi Street in Syracuse Monday morning to push for the closure of the Fitzpatrick plant and present alternatives to nuclear power in New York. "We are calling on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to put public safety over short-term nuclear industry profit," said Judy Lieblein, a resident of Syracuse. "If we have learned anything from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, it is that it's better to be safe than sorry. If a nuclear plant in Oswego were to lose backup power or suffer other unexpected problems leading to a large-scale accident, hundreds of thousands could be displaced, we could permanently lose large areas of farmland, and thousands could eventually develop cancer."

      Paul Gunter, of Beyond Nuclear, says the group wants the NRC to host a hearing on what he calls mistakes at Fitzpatrick. He points to the Japan disaster as proof of what can happen. "That's our concern. You have a number of scenarios that can cause and initiate the same catastrophic event and these issues have not been addressed with any confidence or acceptance to date," Gunter said.

      Fitzpatrick owner, Entergy , says its in full compliance with current regulations, and is reviewing the NRC's new safety regulations.

      Entergy's full statement:

      Entergy is in full compliance with current regulatory requirements regarding the James A. FitzPatrick's Nuclear Power Plant's hardened vent. As identified in the Nuclear Regulatory Commissions acceptance of the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant's response to Generic Letter 89-16, the design of the plant's hardened vent satisfies regulatory requirements and with associated procedures ensures plant safety. Entergy is committed to the safe and reliable operation of FitzPatrick and all its facilities. The health and safety of our employees and the public is our number one priority.

      Within weeks of the events at Fukushima, following the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami, Entergy's technical experts had compiled and reviewed the safety capabilities of the U.S. Plants similar to those at Fukushima, including FitzPatrick. FitzPatrick as well as all of Entergy's facilities have undergone extensive walk-downs and procedure reviews. We have validated that FitzPatrick is well-protected from extreme hazards and remain committed to constantly strengthening the security and safety of the facility.

      Entergy has a dedicated team that is assigned full-time to interact with regulators on related learnings from Fukushima. As we continue to learn from Fukushima, the industry and the regulator are aligned on how to prioritize what is identified and move forward. Both the industry and regulator share a common goal of ensuring the safety and security of our communities. Entergy will thoroughly review the NRC's orders as outlined in their announcement issued on March 9, 2012 and will take action to comply with the orders and regulations. We are committed to the safe and reliable operation of all our facilities and where needed will modify our facility designs to make them even safer.