Japan Crisis Raises Concerns About Indian Point Power Plant

Rep. Lowey, Among Others, Says Now Is The Time To Review

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — As nuclear plant issues arise in Japan those who live near the Indian Point power plant can’t help but wonder if it could happen here.

Westchester Congresswoman Nita Lowey is demanding a full federal review, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

Indian Point is just 24 miles north of New York City and is located about a mile from where two earthquake fault lines intersect. But the people who run it say they’re not worried about a Japan-like meltdown here.

PHOTO GALLERY: Deadly Tsunami Hits Japan After 8.9 Quake

When asked what he would say to people who wonder if a Japan scenario could happen here, Jim Streets, director of communications for Entergy Nuclear Northeast said, “I say only if a tsunami could make its way, you know, up New York Harbor and the Hudson River, somehow avoid New York City, and drench our plant. It just doesn’t seem very realistic to me.”

But Congresswoman Lowey is demanding a nuclear regulatory review of the plant, noting that a 3.9-magnitude earthquake occurred 80 miles off Long Island last November and that experts say a quake with a 7.0 magnitude could happen here.

WCBS 880’s Catherine Cioffi reports: Could what happened in Japan happen in New York?

A 2008 study by Columbia University Earth Observatory found that Indian Point isn’t exactly on firm ground and is in one of the worst places to site a nuclear power plant.

“In the wake of this human catastrophe we have to ask ourselves if we are really prepared to deal with a natural disaster or a terrorist event at Indian Point or collateral issues like loss of power or inability to cool fuel rods,” Lowey said.

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is also on guard.

“With Indian Point what is happening in Japan right now is forcing everybody to look at the assumptions about nuclear energy and nuclear reactors here in the United States,” Astorino said.

Hudson Riverkeeper’s Executive Director Paul Gallay told Westchester County officials that the crisis in Japan raises valid questions and he’s also demanding action.

“The feds should shut that plant down until this earthquake risk is properly studied,” Gallay said. “The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is still relying on 40-year-old data that suggests that the risk of seismic activity is somewhere between a 1.0 magnitude earthquake and a 3.0.”

“Two fault lines intersect about a mile north of Indian Point and a Columbia University study tells us a 7.0 magnitude earthquake is quite possible,” Gally said. “They’ve been ignoring this risk for three years, God help us if they keep doing that.”

Gallay thinks to keep betting on nuclear power is a mistake.

“It would be a little bit like sending more money to Bernie Madoff after watching him be led away in handcuffs,” Gallay said. “Nobody should be panicking. What the public should do with this information is get schooled up on the actual risk and make sure that their public officials do the same and then the answer will become clear: we need to get our power from another source and we can do it.”

Indian Point provides up to 30 percent of the electricity to Westchester and New York City.

Officials insist that Indian Point was designed and built to withstand a massive earthquake and that there are not many similarities between the plant in Westchester and the one in Japan.

“Because of the geology and the tectonics of the region that we’re in on the East Coast, Indian Point is not susceptible to the type of earthquake that occurred in Japan,” Indian Point spokesman Jerry Nappi said.

Nappi said the plant is built to withstand approximately a 6.0 magnitude earthquake.

“We’re very confident in our earthquake protection and I think we’re just in a very different environment here,” Entergy’s Steets said. “The problems that occurred in Japan don’t exist here.”

Regardless, some who live near the plant said they’re scared.

Some opponents are calling for the plant to be shutdown, reports 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera

“The unexpected happens. And it should be noted that Chernobyl didn’t have an earthquake and a tsunami to have a meltdown,” said Gary Shaw of the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition.

“We have a lot of failsafe systems in place for Indian Point and so far they’ve all worked and I’m sure they’ll continue to work until they no longer do and when they don’t we’re impacting 21 million people,” the Coalition’s Marilyn Elie added.

Indian Point’s licenses come up for renewal in 2013 and 2015. What happened in Japan will surely have an impact on that process and how people live their lives in neighborhoods like these all over the metropolitan area.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is demanding Senate hearings to insure proper safeguards at all nuclear power plants in the nation, including Indian Point.

Do you think what happened in Japan could happen here? Sound off below

  • Nick

    Nuclear Power is too expensive, poisonous, and wasteful.

    You need armed guards forever to protect the fuel, the plant, and the waste…because it can ALL be used by terrorists. That poison can be used by Hollywood terrorists ( In real life, poor people who are tired of being killed because they live above oil), or 3-piece suit terrorists, (People like like Bush, Obama, bankers, and CEO’s,who apply state sponsored terrorism, in our name as we sit back, and allow it to happen, because we are too tired, frightened, or ignorant to move.)

    The people on this page who are supporting nuclear power in any way are forgetting that it is the SUBSIDIES that make it competitive with renewable energy sources. Nuclear would fall down and die if the subsidies were taken away. That is also true for coal, oil, and gas.

    We are paying with tax dollars the harvesting those very energy sources that kill us.

    And everyone forgets that if we could get out of using PRIVATE, BANK-PRINTED, FIAT CURRENCY we could “afford” anything we want to.
    The whole world can be run on geothermal, wind, solar, tidal, and wave motion.

  • agustinarosario


  • steve

    You all should realize that if you are afraid of a 6 or 7 magnitude quake, you are far better off sitting on top of the reactor than you would be walking up Madison Avenue. I agree that it should not have been built so near to NYC. So lets shut it down and lose the electricity it generates. For those of you who really want it shut down, I think you should volunteer to be the first to have your electricity cut off, and your rates raised to build a new plant. Hey, maybe we can move it up the river about 80 miles.

  • Patricia K

    I’m old enough to remember when it was Indian Point Amusement Park. The park was purchased by Con Ed in ’55, the last year it was opened as an amusement park. Constuction on the power plant was begun in ’56. I’d say this is one of the oldest in this country. Another thing that worries me, that fateful day, Sept 11, 2001, those terrorists few down the Hudson from Albany to the WTC. Can anyone imagine how many more deaths would have been taken then and in the future if they planted to take out Indian Point. Most people within a 50 mile radius would be affected. We have to get Wind and Solar energy going sooner than later. Yes, we are dependent on electricity but why not try something with no waste and little to no danger to human life.

  • Jo Ann

    Indian point can withstand 6.1 quake? What if we get a 7.1? 8.1? 9.1? no one is answering that question…Because no one knows…The same thing can happen here…Medically it would be a disaster for us

  • Patrick

    Everyone thinks bigger is better. Could not smaller and more widespead nuclear reactors leave less worrisome the catastrophe that may happen from a more bigger and powerful nuclear reactor failing? Would not smaller nuclear reactors be able to be brought under control more quickly in the event of failure?

  • John A.

    The safety measures that are in place for Indian Point need to be reviewed immediately,and if necessary ,upgraded toa higher level .We must be prepared for any eventuality,even though we everyone says that everything is okayWe do have fault lines that run underground near Indian Point,and while the likelyhood of a major 7.0 earthquake is nit extremely high,anything is possible,As the old adage says-Better safe than sorry.

  • Sharad Pant

    Dear Members,
    We can’t deny the importance of nuclear power in situation of power crises and increasing electricity demand of industrial and domestic sector. We are so dependent on electricity and electric appliances that we can’t able to live without it. So it is not in our hand to close down the Nuclear Power Plants. In place of close down the plants, Govt. should have to review the security check ups to face the situation and minimize the effects of any disaster. It is reality that some power plants are older then 50 years and need keen precautions and safety verification.
    With regards.

    Sharad Pant
    Value Chain Advisor
    Sierra Leone
    West Africa

  • Shaking my head

    Sure. If you take away nuclear power, say goodbye to regular use of appliances, television, computers, lights. Those of you yelling to shut down the plant need to get educated on how power plants are built. You cannot compare Japan with the United States nor can you compare it to Chernobyl. The US has more regulations in place and plants are built in different ways with different fail safes for cooling.

  • KC

    Look what we are doing to our earth and it’s inhabitants with Nuclear Power…When will man learn?….What more will it take?…The answer for everyone is clear…NO NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS!!!!!! May God Bless Japan and it’s people….

  • Rob

    More fear mongering by those with an agenda. Some verifiable facts:

    To date not one person has died as a result of the reactors in Japan. On the other hand 10s of thousands have died as a result of the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan.

    The earthquake was a 9.0. the 5th largest earthquake ever. The reactors went offline as planned. The Tsunami is what knocked out the backup power due to the fact that the generators and switching equipment was located in the basement of the buildings in Japan. Had the generators and switching equipment been located above ground we would not be having this conversation.

    Third, the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that may happen in the Hudson Valley is just as likely as a meteor hitting hitting me in the head. Add to that the fact that a 7.0 earthquake is thousands of times less powerful than a 9.0 and the fact that IP is 40 miles inland makes this scenario happening here about as likely as pigs flying.

    It is a tragedy, it is serious. Of course plans and designs should always be reviewed and improved upon but shutting down IP3 over it is just plain stupid and RiverKeeper is fear mongering.

    • Jen

      Are you serious? You do know that radiation causes cancer and that cancer takes time to kill? The problem is that it does kill. Painfully.

      You may be ok with getting radiation poisoning but not me and not my kids.

      • Josh

        Yes, he is serious, as am I. You, nor I, nor anyone else HAS TO live near a nuclear power plant. Our country doesn’t have nuclear power near San Andreas, which is highly susceptible to an earthquake. Stop your fear mongering. learn some facts about nuclear power plants. You either want to be free from foreign oil or you do not. If you want to be free, do you want more coal mining, more oil drilling or some nuclear?!?! Pick your poison and deal with it.

  • GN

    Shut it down and build windmills along ocean parkway from Jones Beach to Robert Moses on the land where it is cheap and cost effective and damn the nimby’s

    • David

      cost effective! are you serious???? do a little bit more research on this topic. Nuclear power is the most cost effective and efficient way of power together. The only method that is more efficient is solar energy but in now way more cost effective. get your facts straight.

  • Geo Man

    Dont believe we will ever have a 9.0 quake or a tsunami anytime soon in this area, nuclear power plants have been in this country for quiet a few years, sit back dont worry!

  • Bill W.

    NEVER SAY NEVER!! This disaster can happen in the US. I am by no means saying that it will, just use caution when saying it won’t happen. The ones that say this couldn’t happen, do you know where the geological faults are at? Before you say this couldn’t happen, do a little homework and find out why earthquakes happen and where the fault lines are in the US. Why risk 100’s of thousands of lives when we can convert the power plants over to natural gas. Most people don’t realize how abundant this natural resource is and we have trillions of cubic feet of untapped gas in the US. It is environmentally friendly. I see no down side to this resource.

  • Concerned in MD

    The earthquake did not cause the problem with Japan’s nukes, the Tsunami did by knocking out back up power plants. An earthquake of the magnitude needed to do this along the east coast of the US is a very, very remote possibility but earthquakes are not the only sources of Tsunamis. A large methane bubble leaking from the ocean floor can do the same thing and the conditions that can cause this are present along the Atlantic seaboard. It may be a once in 100,000 year event and we were not around the last time it happened so there is no way to know when it will happen again.

    However dangerous nuclear power may seem, at the moment it is statistically safer environmentally than our #1 source of power: Coal. I think the take away is to learn from this experience. How can backup power sources be hardened to withstand anything nature or man throws against them?

    Also, nuclear plants should all be dual mode so they can generate power on our abundant natural gas when their reactors are down for refueling, maintenance or in the event of a failure of any kind.

  • debbie

    What did people do before nuclear power? go back to it I say we dont need the descrution of what happens when something goes wrong the amount of people that could die from radiation isnt worth it. When you play with fire you are gonna get burned and to me that is all nuclear is fire . We can use other things I m sure what is wrong with coal? But using something that has potiential to kill so many innocent lives is wrong.With so much technogy today cant someone invent something better and safer because things can be replaced people cant

    • Boubacar Doumbia

      All they need is too develop the solar energy program…

      • my 2 cents

        I agree. Solar or wind energy…much safer and environmentally friendly. But money needs to be spent sooo it sadly won’t happen.

    • Michael H.

      “what is wrong with coal?”

      go stick your head over a lit bbq and breathe deep for a while then come back and ask that question again.

    • David

      Do know how much the demand for power goes up each year, yeah try and go back to the way it was! What is wrong with coal! How dumb are you? Do half as much research on coal as you have with nuclear power and you will find 3x as many issues. Currently when running a coal/fossil plant it puts out massive amounts of toxic release… a day!. A nuclear power plant… none. Furthermore there are multiple fail-safes in nuclear power. Indian point is further qualified and equipped to deal with a station blackout (a loss of offsite and on site power). This occurred in Japan and Japan was not rated nor prepared for it.
      P.S. A little side note for you about going to coal. A small nuclear power plant running for one year, produced the equivalent amount of energy as a fossil plant burning a couple of trillion pounds of coal. Get your facts straight. Nuclear power is the future. Indian point is Safe, Secure, and it is Vital to NY. If Indian Point shuts down and is replaces with dozens of fossil plants good luck with gas prices, the price you pay for utilities, and your overall environment.

  • Tariq Mahmood

    Thanks for asking a comment.

  • Tariq Mahmood

    Hunger for power has led us to set up nuclear power plants that can backfire any time like these days in Japan. We require more power because wish to consume more.

    • antiterror

      “Mahmood” and nuclear!!!!!!!!!!!! Ya, give all nukes to Mahmood, what will he do?

      • Michael H.

        That was very clever! He has a Muslim name so he must be a terrorist! Did you spend all day thinking of that? I hope you didn’t hurt yourself.

  • Same old same old

    This shows nothing more than the fact that some of you are fear-mongering cats! What happened in Japan is terrible, but is isolated to areas which could be devestated by an earthquake, which NYC and 90% of the US ins’t. If we built a nuclear power plant near the San Andreas fault, that would be one thing. Indian Point is not the same in many respects, which you fail to mention. Either you want us free from foreign oil or you don’t!!!! Make up you damn minds! The only thing which is outdated is your pansy opinions!

    • Robert

      Tariq, you are a fool. The entire Hudson River Rift is a fault line.

      • Michael H.

        Indian Point was built to withstand a 6.1 magnitude quake, ten times more powerful than the strongest NY quake on record.

  • bill

    Keep current electric rates for 3/4 of their current bill. Triple the rate for the last 1/4 of their existing bill. I promise you that in no time, you wont need that power plant at all.

  • Bell Branson

    Dale, you’re right but that won’t happen. These plants are owned by private corporations. Their only motive is profit. They won’t update anything because there’s no profit in it. The same reason landlords don’t update 100 year old buildings in Manhattan, the same reason our bridges are falling into rivers and our schools are being closed. Profit, profit, profit.

  • Bell Branson

    The solution is to take necessities like power, transportation and food out the hands of capitalists, and bringing them under public control. Making infrastructure and requirements for life “profitable” requires disregarding the needs of humanity. You can’t have one or the other. Either profit motive or social motive. Either sustaining humanity or further enriching a minuscule minority with more money than they could ever spend in 100 lifetimes. The choice is ours.

    • Cerin St.James

      Yeah because collectivism is a GREAT idea. How’d that work for Russia? What was the standard of living for those that weren’t the ruling class under communism? Capitalism makes EVERYONE richer, while collectivism just enslaves everyone. How dumb are you?

  • Dale Day

    Well Necular Engery is certainly important,but what happened in JAPAN clearly show s that every Nation needs a review. Some of these plants are 40 yrs old and i am quite sure that after all of those yrs they probably have some flaws. For the US to set hear and think this cannot happened to us would be a mistake. There needs to be a sense of urgency put into this matter of review and inspection and then we go from there.

  • Evlyn Fitch

    I’m good with shutting down the power plant. Cut 30% of NYC our of the grid and let them develop their own solution. What kind of updates to their power grid have they made since the major grid failure years ago when 50,000,000 people blacked out? I think we all know what the problems are, but I haven’t seen anybody show up with at least 3 viable solutions.

  • Bell Branson

    This whole thing shows more than ever that nations are outdated. The nation state arose around the interests of local ruling cliques, like kings and warlords. It made sense with national economies. Today there is only the world economy. Even the hinterlands are integrated into it. But still nations exist, and each nation must have its own source of power. It’s nonsense. We have a world economy, we no longer need nations. That should be the goal. And when we look at things worldwide, as a species, we can see that we shouldn’t build nuclear plants where there are earthquakes or other disasters. There are plenty of places where such things do no occur.

    The problem is not nuclear energy. The fact that there are three nuclear crises in decades of nuclear power show that it is relatively safe. Certainly safer than burning oil and coal, which contribute to an ongoing global disaster every day, even when they are operating normally.

    • Cerin St.Janes

      It only stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master. -Ayn Rand

      Sounds like your post. So you want to be the rule class, eh?

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