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Engel Renews Call for NRC to Conduct Proper Safety Study of Pipeline Near Indian Point

Engel Renews Call for NRC to Conduct Proper Safety Study of Pipeline Near Indian Point

“I call for the NRC to finally perform a proper risk assessment of the AIM Project”

Congressman Eliot L. Engel today said a report released by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) Inspector General (IG) revealing that the NRC failed to properly analyze the safety risks posed by a natural gas pipeline expansion project near the Indian Point Energy Center is a problem for the community.

“I am deeply troubled by the serious irregularities that the IG found in the NRC’s risk assessment," said Engel. "It is an outrageous failure of the highest magnitude that the agency charged with the critical responsibility of protecting the health and safety of our community may have taken shortcuts that made our families less safe, less secure, and put lives at risk." 

The Algonquin Incremental Market Project (AIM Project) is a pipeline expansion project that enabled increased transportation of natural gas from the Appalachian Basin to the Northeast. The AIM Project was unusually risky because it required the installation of a 42-inch diameter high-pressure natural gas pipeline merely 150 feet from critical infrastructure at an aged and highly troubled nuclear power plant that sits at the intersection of two fault lines only 24 miles from New York City.

Despite the pipeline’s unsettling proximity to existing nuclear facilities neighboring our nation’s largest and most densely populated metropolitan area, the IG report confirmed that neither FERC nor the NRC conducted a proper safety assessment of the project. Rather, both agencies relied on a risk assessment from a subcontractor of the company that operated Indian Point. NRC performed a mere confirmatory analysis of that risk assessment, and then FERC accepted NRC’s review.

Engel, who repeatedly called for an independent risk assessment of the AIM Project before its construction, also renewed his demand for a proper study.

“This new report calls into question not only safety at the site, but also the integrity of future risk evaluations by the NRC as the decommissioning of Indian Point moves forward,” Engel said.  “I call for the NRC to finally perform a proper risk assessment of the AIM Project, take swift action to protect the public from dangers that resulted from the pipeline’s approval and installation, and promptly oversee the decommissioning of Indian Point in a safe and efficient manner.”