WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., June 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR) today notified the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has not issued a final decision on the company's Water Quality Certificate (WQC) application within the required one-year time period.
Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, a federal statute, requires states to issue a final decision on WQC applications within one year of an applicant filing a permit application.
On April 3, 2009, Entergy submitted an application to NYSDEC for an updated WQC in connection with the company's license renewal application for Indian Point Nuclear Generating Units 2 and 3. NYSDEC continues with the process of making a final decision in this case, long after the one-year deadline imposed by federal law.
Recent developments have caused Entergy to file this notice with the NRC.
"At a recent status conference with NYSDEC administrative law judges in our combined WQC and State Pollution Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) proceedings, the issue of timely action by NYSDEC on our WQC application was discussed," said Fred Dacimo, Entergy vice president of operations. "Based on that discussion, Entergy believes that now is the appropriate time to notify the NRC that NYSDEC has not issued a final decision on our WQC application within the required period."
Under federal law, the NRC has the legal responsibility to determine whether NYSDEC has waived its WQC authority and must notify the Environmental Protection Agency if a waiver has occurred.
The WQC proceeding addresses the same core issues that are addressed in NYSDEC's ongoing SPDES permit renewal. Through the SPDES permit, Indian Point will comply with the same important state water quality standards. Entergy expects that the NYSDEC proceeding will continue.
"Our steadfast commitment to environmental stewardship and our continued adherence to New York water quality standards remain firm," continued Dacimo. "We are continuing our work with the NYSDEC on these important issues."
There were three recent WQC applications to NYSDEC in connection with nuclear plant relicensing in New York State that preceded Indian Point's application. Two were resolved within the statutorily prescribed one-year period and one was resolved in 15 months. Indian Point's WQC application has been pending for more than 26 months and, under the current schedule, final agency action is still up to two years away. For the two timely decisions, NYSDEC relied on existing SPDES permits to ensure compliance with state water quality standards.
In 2009, after a comprehensive review of thousands of pages of documents, many site inspections of the plants, and public meetings, NRC staff issued to Entergy the Final Safety Evaluation Report that states that the plants can continue to operate safely during the 20-year period of a renewed license. NRC staff also issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement, in which the NRC staff found no significant environmental impact that would prevent license renewal.
The NRC license renewal process continues before the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board which is planning hearings next year on contentions it has agreed to review that were brought to the ASLB by interveners earlier in the license renewal process.
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, and it is the second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.7 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $11 billion and approximately 15,000 employees.
Additional investor information can be accessed online at www.entergy.com/investor_relations.
SOURCE Entergy Corporation