NY officials meet with NRC about Indian Point

March 22, 2011 3:25:50 PM PDT
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has pledged to make Indian Point its top priority in its review of seismic risk at 27 nuclear plants throughout the country.

The owner of the power plant has insisted the facility is not susceptible to the kind of earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan.

Entergy's vice president, John McCann, told Westchester County legislators on Monday that the earthquake in Japan was much more powerful than any recorded around Indian Point.

State officials met with the NRC on Tuesday. At the request of the Cuomo Administration, the NRC has agreed to a cooperative review of Indian Point as a joint effort between the NRC and New York State.

The governor's office says NRC has also agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding that will:

  • Share federal data regarding seismic risk specific to Indian Point with New York technical experts
  • ?Include New York experts as part of the NRC on-site inspection team that will evaluate Indian Point with regard to seismic risk

    In addition, NRC Chair Greg Jaczko has agreed to conduct a personal site inspection of Indian Point with New York officials.

    Governor Cuomo has long been an opponent of Indian Point and has worked to prevent the federal relicensing of the facility.

    "I've had concerns about Indian Point for a long time," Cuomo said. "As attorney general, I did a lot of work on Indian Point. My position was that it shouldn't be re-licensed. My position was that it should be closed."

    The facility is situated near a fault line and concerns have been raised about whether it was designed to withstand the seismic activity that could result from an earthquake.

    Chief among those concerns is the size of the evacuation zone around Indian Point. Right now, it's just 10 miles. But the zone for U.S. citizens near Japan's damaged nuclear plant is 50 miles.

    "If it's 50 miles, it takes us through New York City," Westchester Legislator Michael Kaplowitz said. "If it's 50 miles, I don't know how you design an evacuation plan."

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