Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant Should Close, Says Governor Cuomo

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant Should Close, Says Governor Cuomo

If an earthquake were to hit the New York area, the reactor with the highest risk of damage is Reactor 3 at Indian Point in Westchester, New York, just 24 miles from the Bronx. "The suggestion is that of all the [104] power plants across the country, that the Indian Point power plant is most susceptible to an earthquake because Reactor No. 3 is on a fault [line]," said Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday. While Japan struggles to contain catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, and we all observe in horror, Cuomo took a break from his family's ski vacation to make a statement on the matter at hand. "It should be closed," he said. "This plant in this proximity to the city was never a good risk."

With its license set to expire in 2013, and 20 million people living within 50 miles of the plant, Indian Point has become a hot-button issue in a few days' time as Americans watch the tragedy in Japan and understandably, but somewhat selfishly, wonder, "What about us?"

Cuomo, though, has long fought to close the plan, calling it a "catastrophe waiting to happen," via Daily Intel, all the way back in 2007. "In its 40-year history, Indian Point has suffered radiation leaks, useless warning sirens, transformer explosions and oil spills," according to the Daily News.

Via the New York Times:

Officials with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission say the site is safe and that its earthquake threat is on the lower end nationally and in the Northeast. But it is one of 17 nuclear sites being asked to review and reassess seismic issues. Still, said Scott Burnell, a commission spokesman, "The N.R.C. continues to believe that all U.S. plants are capable of withstanding the strongest earthquakes that can be expected at any given site."

What most fail to address, politicians like Cuomo included, is that Indian Point accounts for as much as 30 percent of New York City's electricity. Worry about it is one thing -- a reasonable reaction, if a bit regrettable considering the reality elsewhere at the moment -- and making speeches about its danger is important, and easy enough, too. Actually making the changes is where it gets really complicated.

[jcoscarelli@villagevoice.com / @joecoscarelli]

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