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Emergency Commissioner Battles County Board Over Indian Point Evacuation

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The Indian Point nuclear power plant - Buchanan, NY - File / Photo: Monika Graff/Getty Images

The Indian Point nuclear power plant – Buchanan, NY (file/credit: Monika Graff/Getty Images)

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BUCHANAN, NY (CBSNewYork) - To some, having school kids brought to one location and their parents evacuate to another might not seem like a good evacuation plan for the Indian Point nuclear power plant.

WCBS 880′s Catherine Cioffi: Emergency Commissioner Says They’ll Follow The NRC’s Lead


But Westchester County emergency services commissioner Tony Sutton says the evacuation plan is sound.

“You can never have a plan that’s gonna cover every single scenario, but by the planning process, you develop the ability to address contingencies and to develop on them on the fly,” says Sutton. “I know lots of people want to see action and deliberate action, but it’s very early in this event.”

“Our primary responsibility is to protect the health and safety of the citizens of our county and that’s what we do every day,” said Sutton. “But I can tell you right now that the plan works the way we have it.”

That’s a statement some county lawmakers just aren’t comfortable with.

As for expanding the evacuation zone beyond ten miles, Sutton testified before the county Board of Legislators that they’ll do whatever the Nuclear Regulatory Commission asks of them.

WCBS 880′s Catherine Cioffi: 20 Million People Live Within 50 Miles


On Tuesday, some Westchester County lawmakers called for the Indian Point emergency evacuation zone to be expanded from ten miles around the plant to 50 miles around the plant.

The Indian Point evacuation map is seen at the Westchester County Board of Legislators - White Plains, NY - Apr 5, 2011 - Photo: Catherine Cioffi / WCBS 880

The Indian Point evacuation map is seen at the Westchester County Board of Legislators - White Plains, NY - Apr 5, 2011 - Photo: Catherine Cioffi / WCBS 880

“Given the population size and density, it is absolutely critical that there be a fifty mile zone,” says County Legislator Mike Kaplowitz, who adds that the 20 million people who live in the 50-mile radius around the plant need to be protected. “If there is a risk and public safety potentially being imperiled, our job is to do something about it.”

Meanwhile, NRC officials say they see no basis for the expansion.

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