The panel of three administrative judges from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission sat before a ballroom of mostly suited and silent folks (and many members of the press) for today's first in a series of federal hearings on the relicensing of Indian Point.
The scene inside the DoubleTree Hotel hall was sedate and formal compared to the singing and chanting that happened here in May, when some pro-nuclear speakers competed for airtime againt "Shut it Down" outbreaks.
Then, Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti said “Indian Point is an accident waiting to happen," while Martha Gordon, President of Westchester Business Council, praised the industry's importance in the region for keeping electricity costs down and people employed.
Today, it was the first chance for major opponents—New York, Clearwater, Riverkeeper—to officially make their case before the NRC.
Outside the proceedings, Tarrytown Police providing security screening reported no issues so far and no real protest.
"You're not going to have all the Raging Grannies" this time, said an NRC security man having his lunch break. The hearings are "evidentiary" only, he said, meaning the public can only listen.
Jim Steets, communications director for the Entergy company that owns the plant, said "we are pretty confident" in how things will go in the coming weeks (and months, if not years). He anticipated the question of relicensing, serioiusly begun in 2007, would not be resolved for several more years.
See video of Steets attached here.
"When all is said is done, it will be hard to argue that there wasn't an opportunity to express every side," Steets said. "I do have a sense that this is a good opportunity for us to present the scientific and technical basis for our argument to the public."
As does Riverkeeper.
Read about the last Indian Point hearing in Tarrytown here.
Hearings will be held this through Thursday and are scheduled to start at 9 a.m. and end at about 6 p.m., McQuade said. People can start entering the hotel conference room at 8:30 a.m. No public comments are allowed.
Future hearing dates have been scheduled for Oct. 22-24 and Dec. 10-14.