A report released today by the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project at the University of Texas, commissioned by the U.S. Department of Defense, finds that the Indian Point nuclear power plant is one of eight reactor sites across the country vulnerable to a sea-borne terrorist attack that would result in reactor core damage or a spent fuel pool fire and a catastrophic release of radiation. In light of today’s report and the recent study on shadow evacuation around nuclear plants released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), Phillip Musegaas, Hudson River Program Director at Riverkeeper, has released the following statement:
“Today’s report once again shines a harsh light on the fact that eleven years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has failed to ensure that Indian Point and other nuclear reactors and their spent fuel pools are properly protected against a terrorist attack. The report describes how Indian Point is not even required to defend against an attack of the same scale as 9/11, and there is no requirement to defend against a waterborne attack of any size. Nor do the security rules require Indian Point to defend against an aircraft attack like the one that hit New York on 9/11.
Given Indian Point’s location on the Hudson River, 34 miles north of Times Square and within 50 miles of twenty million people, it is imperative that additional security measures be required and implemented at this plant immediately, until this dangerous old facility is shut down for good. By ignoring the lessons of history and common sense, and instead bowing down to the economic interests of the nuclear industry, the NRC has once again shown its true colors as a nuclear enabler rather than regulator.
Riverkeeper calls on our elected officials to take swift action, and demand that the NRC and Entergy increase security at Indian Point until the plant can be permanently shut down, and its dangerous nuclear waste moved out of leaking spent fuel pools into safer dry cask storage.
This report comes on the heels of an April 2013 GAO study of emergency planning around nuclear plants that found the NRC has not properly studied ”shadow evacuations” — the number of people outside the official 10-mile evacuation zone who would spontaneously try to evacuate without being told to do so, and hinder the safe evacuation of others caught in the danger zone affected by a radioactive release. For Indian Point, this means that the NRC has never studied or considered how New York City or Connecticut residents would react to a nuclear accident or attack on the reactors or waste filled spent fuel pools.
Taken together, it’s clear that the NRC and the nuclear industry are suffering from a dangerous case of willful blindness when it comes to nuclear security and emergency planning, one that puts millions of New Yorkers at risk.”