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Entergy spokesperson wrong to deny earthquake risk

In a response to our piece about Indian Point’s susceptibility to earthquakes, Entergy spokesperson Jerry Nappi mischaracterizes the earthquake dangers of the Indian Point nuclear plant. He asserts that the nuclear plant earthquake danger rankings were developed by a news reporter and are therefore false. He also dismisses a scientific study by Columbia University seismologists that suggests the risk of earthquakes to the region is substantially greater than formerly believed.  Mr. Nappi is entitled to an opinion, but not his own facts.

In reality, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission published a table comparing seismic risk of reactor core damage among nuclear power plants, based on its 2008 calculations. The table shows a yearly 1-in-10,000 risk of damage to the Indian Point Unit 3 reactor core from an earthquake. Mr. Nappi didn’t refute these numbers—because he can’t.

Mr. Nappi also seems to ignore that earthquake risk will cast a shadow over the Hudson Valley even long after the plant’s closure in 2021. While the threat of a reactor core meltdown will cease at that time, highly radioactive spent fuel will remain on the Indian Point site for decades, subject to an array of hazards, from earthquakes and terrorism to close proximity to natural gas pipelines, particularly the Algonquin Incremental Market Pipeline. Meanwhile, Entergy has applied for and received a deferral to forego a Seismic Hazard Evaluation, which study is meant to identify the types of hazards faced by Japan during the Fukushima disaster.

We can’t wish away the imminent hazards of Indian Point. That’s why Riverkeeper fought to close it and will continue to fight for a swift, robust decommissioning process and safe storage of spent nuclear fuel.

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