NEW CITY, NY (WCBS 880) – If there is anything good that has come out of the nuclear power situation in Japan, Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef says it’s that it has caused people in New York to question the safety of  Indian Point.

WCBS 880’s Catherine Cioffi: Vanderhoef Weights Cheap Power Against Public Safety

“Well, I have, for all of my tenure, believed that Indian Point should not be there and should not be recertified,” Vanderhoef told WCBS 880 reporter Catherine Cioffi. “It should be closed down.”

Vanderhoef says, finally, people are listening.

“It’s a question of cheap electricity or making sure that my citizens are safe, and I choose the latter,” says Vanderhoef. “Anything, potentially, could go wrong and all of the fail-safe mechanisms, potentially, could go wrong.”

Vanderhoef hopes the NRC will not relicense the Indian Point nuclear power plant, located across the Hudson River in Buchanan.

He says, “It’s too much of a risk.”

Meanwhile, Entergy officials say there are lessons to be learned from Japan.

An earthquake and resulting tsunami have left a nuclear facility on the northern part of the country on the verge of meltdown.

Comments (13)
  1. Steve Laifer says:

    Yesterday’s NY Times:

    “Dangerous Levels of Radioactive Isotope Found 25 Miles From Nuclear Plant”

    Coincidentally NYC is 25 miles from the Indian Point nuclear reactors.

  2. Rational Actor says:

    I am well aware that Entergy and the nuclear industry in general is actively engaged in an effort to post what appears to be objective comments all over the web to counter the growing bad press & opposition to the re-licensing of various plants including Indian Point, and it is more than obvious that jimmy1655 (see prev. posts) is part of this effort by his intimate and impressive knowledge of reactor technology. I am not saying this and similar poster’s comments are totally without merit, only that people connected to the industry cannot be objective and their opinions will always be colored by their vested interest.

    I must stress that Indian Point is 1960’s era nuclear technology. A 40 year-old plant built on a seismic fault capable of generating a large earthquake exceeding the plant’s design according to a 2008 Columbia University study. With its old plumbing and electrical, and relatively unprotected and over-filled pools of spent fuel, it is a disaster waiting to happen. It is susceptible to terrorism, human error, old infrastructure failures, and earthquakes. Locating it so close to NYC is now acknowledged as a big mistake. I agree, time to shut it down.

  3. Steve Laifer says:

    There is no question that if there is a major accident or equipment failure and Indian Point starts releasing radioactivity, there would be utter chaos and it would be impossible to escape exposure. It’s utter madness to continue to operate a 40 year old plant built on a seismic fault with an aged electrical system and worn out plumbing that has the potential to kill thousands and displace millions permanently. It needs to be closed NOW!

    1. jimmy1655 says:

      If there is one thing to learn from Japan it is that accidents at these facilities are very slow to evolve. Even in the nearly impossible situation that an accident does happen at the plant, you will not have fifteen minutes to evacuate, more on the order of days. The claim that it will be utter chaos is utterly ridiculous.

      1. Steve Laifer says:

        Tell that to the Japanese

      2. Steve Laifer says:

        The situation in Japan is not comparable to an Indian Point meltdown scenario, they didn’t need to evacuate Tokyo. We would need to evacuate NYC. That would take weeks. Thousands of deaths would occur not from a blast, but over time from radiation exposure.

      3. jimmy1655 says:

        The actual progression of the accident at the site of the plant is comparable! Forget about where the plant itself is located. The events in Japan have shown that plant accidents don’t occur suddenly and catastrophically, despite two sudden and catastrophic events striking the facility! Any sort of radiation release in detectable quantities off site took days, not minutes nor even hours.

        For the record, it is against the laws of physics for a Chernobyl type explosion to occur at a US nuclear plant based on their design, and the Chernobyl reactor was not housed in any sort of containment structure, so a sudden explosion that could release radiation is impossible.

        Furthermore, the NRC has NOT extended the evacuation area yet, and all current studies indicate you would NOT have to evacuate New York City. The 50 mile evacuation area around the plant in Japan was put out by the US government without the benefit of significant study that is required when US plants are licensed. It was an extremely conservative estimate done in a very short time period, with no information available about geological and meteroloical data; so an excessive safety margin was factored in. If I was chairman of the NRC and I was asked by the state department for immediate release on an evacuation perimeter, I would have likely said the same thing. (5 times the current analyzed evacuation zone should be MORE than sufficient!)

      4. Steve Laifer says:

        jimmy1665 – whether or not the NRC officially makes the evacuation zone 50 miles, there is no doubt that if in the event of radiation releases from Indian Point, people in NYC won’t be waiting around for the NRC to tell them what to do. Millions would be heading for the hills joining people from NJ and upstate NY and it would be total chaos. It would shutdown NYC and cause incalculable economic damage.

        By the way, the prevailing winds make NYC downwind from the plant, and it wouldn’t take long for a radioactive cloud to make its way there.

  4. nextgenusa says:

    Mr. Vanderhoef, thank you and our Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Gov. Cuomo. You guys may have budget problems etc. but after seeing what has happened in Japan, nothing is more important then shutting down Indian Point. Anyone can just Google problems at Indian Point and starting with the last transformer explosion a few months ago and ground water leaks, the rest will make you shiver. If that plant has a major problem we all leave our homes forever and no insurance will cover it.The water in Tokyo is radioactive. Tokyo is 200 miles from their melted down plant, Indian Point is 20 miles from NYC. Reservoirs in Westchester and Rockland feed N.Y.C and N.J. Today the news reports we have traces of radioactive iodine in the air in N.Y. and 13 other states from the Japan crisis. One plant thousands of miles away is effecting our air. The NRC expanded it’s evacuation zone at Indian Point to the now 50 miles used in Japan. That zone now includes all of NYC and parts of NJ and Conn. An evacuation is impossible. Gov. Cuomo is right requesting that re-licensing I.P. should be the same rules as licensing a new plant. In that case right off Indian Point would be closed, due to the fact no new plants can be built in such populated areas or on earthquake faults. A few extra dollars for electricity is nothing compared to the what we have seen and still are seeing in Japan.
    Don’t give in on this one!!!!!

  5. diver says:

    Exactly how do you “plan” for the worst mother nature can dish out or the worst case scenario of human error ever. History has proven that it’s just impossible to do so.

    So we are left to consider where we would like to die in a worst case scenario comfortably at home or stuck in traffic with 5 million of our closest friends fleeing to who knows where!

    1. jimmy1655 says:

      You are acting like an accident at the plant would be equivalent to a terrorist detonating a nuclear bomb in Manhattan. Look at the technical facts on the plant’s website. The containment structures are the strongest design used anywhere in the US nuclear industry. The liklihood that they would fail to contain an accident is inordinately small, but to top it off, they would delay the impact to the public for a matter of days if an evacuation would be necessary.

      1. Steve Laifer says:

        Let me repeat:
        The situation in Japan is not comparable to an Indian Point meltdown scenario, they didn’t need to evacuate Tokyo. We would need to evacuate NYC. That would take weeks. Thousands of deaths would occur not from a blast, but over time

      2. jimmy1655 says:

        You are right, that the incident in Japan is nothling like a “meltdown” scenario at Indian Point. In fact, the accident scenarios involving PWR’s are significantly different than those involving BWR’s. Control rods would drop in immediately on a loss of power to suppress the nuclear chain reaction. They enter from the top of a PWR vs the bottom in a BWR (where a pneumatic system is required). Additionally, PWRs operate regularly with borated water in their primary coolant loops, and do not require special emergency operations to inject more boron into the core. (Boron is a very strong neutron absorber which would further quench the chain reaction.) In addition, the isolated radioactive and non-radioactive loops in a PWR design would have decreased exposure in this situation. Instead of having to directly pump water into the core and vent off steam, heat could have been removed by pumping water into the steam generators. Even if a steam generator tube had cracked, liquid water would have collected any released radioactivity and contained it in the secondary system.

        I also didn’t mention the additional back up power systems that US plants have as opposed to the Japan plants, which had one dedicated bank of diesel generators per plant. US plants have the primary bank of generators and an additional power source, gas turbine or diesel generator in a different location on site.

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