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Report: Indian Point plant had most nuclear violations in U.S.

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JIM FITZGERALD | AP

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — The Indian Point power plants in the New York suburbs have been cited for more violations than any other nuclear site in the country, although 99 percent were low-risk violations, according to a federal report awaiting release.

The Government Accountability Office report, using figures from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said four of the 384 citations between 2000 and 2012 were for "higher-level" violations. Many plants around the nation have more in that category.

But no plant site had more total violations. The closest to Indian Point's total was at the Cooper plant in Brownville, Neb., which had 374 violations. Eleven of those were "higher-level" violations, the report says.

Cooper has just one reactor, while Indian Point has two.

Lower-level violations are those considered to pose very low risk, such as improper upkeep of an electrical transformer.

Entergy Nuclear, owner of Indian Point, issued a statement saying it "has received the most regulatory scrutiny of any plant in the country." It said, "Entergy's commitment to address even minor issues and enhance safety is unrelenting."

Phillip Musegaas of the environmental group Riverkeeper, an Indian Point critic, said of the plant's violations, "Even if they're low-level violations, they're still safety violations, and the NRC does not have an effective system for tracking them. ... The people of New York should wonder why Indian Point has twice as many as any other plant in the Northeast."

Indian Point is arguing for 20-year extensions of the two plants' licenses. The license for Indian Point 2 already has expired, but continued operation is permitted during hearings.

The GAO report was done at the request of four senators and obtained by The Associated Press. Before the government shutdown, the report had been set for public release later this month.

It shows that the number of safety violations at U.S. nuclear power plants varies dramatically from region to region, pointing to inconsistent enforcement.

In New York, besides Indian Point, the Fitzpatrick plant in Oswego County had 116 violations, all but one of them low-level; the two Nine Mile Point reactors, also in Oswego, totaled 143 violations, including 140 low-level; and the Ginna plant in Wayne County had 115 violations, 111 of them low-level.

AP National Writer Jeff Donn contributed to this report from Boston.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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