WHAT? Indian Point and other nuclear plants in New York and the Northeast face closure and decommissioning, part of the vanguard of a coming wave of aging nuclear plant closures nationwide. The stakes of getting decommissioning right – or wrong – couldn’t be higher, not only for local economies and environments, but also for public health and safety. Among other things, spent fuel pools at nuclear plants, especially Indian Point, represent some of the highest concentrations of radioactivity on the planet, which need to be secured against dispersal risks. The choices decommissioning reactor communities face are as complex as they are consequential.
To help them make better informed choices, to publicly air the key issues around decommissioning Indian Point and other Northeast plants, and to help establish decommissioning practices in our region that can serve as a national model, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, The Journal News/lohud.com and the Natural Resources Defense Council are co-sponsoring a unique daylong forum on decommissioning June 9, entitled “When Nuclear Plants Close: A Regional Forum on Nuclear Waste Storage and Decommissioning.”
It assembles the best available independent expertise on high-stakes decommissioning issues we need to start confronting now, such as managing high-level and low-level nuclear waste, on-site storage vs. off-site transport of highly radioactive spent fuel, various timelines and approaches for deconstructing and decommissioning Indian Point and other nuclear plants, adequate financing to prevent burdening taxpayers and ratepayers with the costs, new NRC decommissioning rules, citizen participation and local oversight, and just transition for plant workers and communities. The forum will also cover case studies of plants across the US and abroad that have been through the decommissioning process, and draw lessons from what worked and what didn’t.
WHO? The audience for the briefing will include members of local and state-appointed task forces planning for Indian Point’s closure, elected officials from the New York metropolitan region and Hudson Valley, government agencies, first responders, workers’ unions, civil society groups, and other stakeholders and concerned citizens. Experts presenting at the forum will be coming from across the US and Canada and will include:
- Bob Alvarez, Senior Scholar,Institute for Policy Studies, formerSenior Policy Advisor to the Department of Energy and Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Security and the Environment (invited);
- Gordon Edwards, President,Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility and an internationally recognized nuclear expert
- Geoff Fettus, Senior Attorney,Energy & Transportation program, Natural Resources Defense Council
- Paul Gunter,Director, Reactor Oversight Project, Beyond Nuclear
- Al Hill, Mayor of Zion, Illinois which is still struggling with the legacy of a nuclear plant decommissioned in 1998
- Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Watchdog,Beyond Nuclear
- Tim Judson, Executive Director, Nuclear Information Resource Service
- Deb Katz, Executive Director,Citizens Awareness Network
- David Kraft,Director, Nuclear Energy Information Service
- Matthew McKinzie,Senior Scientist, Land & Wildlife program, and Director, Nuclear program, Natural Resources Defense Council
- Richard Webster, Legal Director, Riverkeeper
WHEN & WHERE? The forum will be held Friday June 9, 2017, 9:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Desmond Fish Library, 472 Route 403 (at the corner of Route 9D) in Garrison, New York. The venue is located close to the Garrison MetroNorth train station, about 70 minutes from Grand Central on the Hudson Line. Rides to and from the Garrison train station can be arranged on request, especially for journalists traveling from NYC. The program includes plenty of time for Q&A, and in addition press availability with presenters and organizers (including outdoors within view of the Indian Point nuclear plant weather permitting) will be arranged when the forum ends at 4pm. Side interviews with sources are available on request. We’ll do whatever we need to do to accommodate all journalists who want to attend, but space is limited, so please RSVP in advance if possible. If you want to publish an advance notice of the meeting, please notify us first, and due to limited space let your audience know that the public will need to pre-register via www.surveymonkey.com/r/Dec