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NRC officials admit: Indian Point is not safe as they told us

Indian Point 2015

Photo: Indian Point, Leah Rae / Riverkeeper
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Photo: Indian Point, Leah Rae / Riverkeeper

Photo: Indian Point, Leah Rae / Riverkeeper

Yesterday, we learned that Entergy and staff at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had not done a proper estimate of the damage that an accident at Indian Point would create. The NRC threw out its assessment of the costs of such a catastrophic event at the troubled nuclear plant.

With this reversal, the NRC admits that their analysis was misleading, used erroneous data and was in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act. It also means that another analysis needs to be conducted.

This decision is a victory for New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who had argued that NRC staff systematically undercounted the cost and impact of a serious nuclear incident. It is also a victory for the 20 million people within a 50-mile radius of the plant, who are continuously placed at risk by this aging, unreliable plant.

A more honest assessment of the damage an accident at Indian Point could be a game changer in the fight to shut Indian Point. A rigorous analysis should show that all this talk about being “safe, secure and vital” is just bunk.

Indian Point has had seven unplanned shutdowns in just a year; a huge spike in radioactive groundwater contamination, and an unprecedented degree of failed bolts in the core of the Unit 2 Reactor. Together, these failures prove that the continued operation of the two reactors is a game of Russian roulette with our lives and our environment at stake.

Meanwhile, a huge increase in the availability of replacement power in the past several years, along with improvements in energy efficiency, mean that Indian Point’s power is no longer needed to keep the lights on, even on the hottest summer day.

The steady drumbeat of failure at Indian Point since last May proves that the only way to provide safe, sustainable power for the New York metro region is to close Indian Point. It’s time to stop pretending this aging nuclear facility is safe and necessary. It’s time to be honest with ourselves about the danger it poses to us, each day it remains open.

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