News > News > Stop Polluters > Power Plant Cases > Indian Point > RvK Presents Concerns About Indian Point Emergency Preparedness Plan

RvK Presents Concerns About Indian Point Emergency Preparedness Plan

Indian Point

Photo Courtesy Giles Ashford
View more images on our Flickr site

Media contact: Tina Posterli (914) 478-4501 x 239

Concerns Presented to NRC Commissioners at Emergency Planning Rulemaking Meeting in Washington, DC

Tarrytown, NY – December 8, 2009 – Riverkeeper presented concerns today on emergency planning at Indian Point to Chairman Jaczko and his fellow Commissioners at a meeting to discuss a proposed federal rule change affecting Emergency Preparedness Regulations, which are applicable to all nuclear power plants in the United States, including Indian Point. In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, Riverkeeper has consistently challenged NRC’s emergency planning requirements as wholly inadequate to ensure public safety in the event of a radiological release at Indian Point. The current regulations are essentially non-enforceable, purely procedural guidelines that do not contain definable, measurable benchmarks or performance standards against which Indian Point’s emergency plan can be evaluated. In the absence of such clear standards, the current plan, fails to acknowledge the severe obstacles, such as traffic density and shadow evacuation, which would make effective evacuation around Indian Point impossible.

“While we were glad the NRC initiated a review of its emergency planning rules, we are dismayed that the agency’s proposed rule changes will do nothing to address the fundamental flaw of the regulations,” stated Alex Matthiessen, Hudson Riverkeeper & president. “Without clear, enforceable standards such as evacuation time limits and a requirement that local and state governments support the plan, NRC approval of nuclear plants’ emergency plans will continue to be premised on a completed but meaningless checklist, a wish and a prayer.” In particular, the revised regulations the NRC is proposing do not adequately address a litany of Riverkeeper’s concerns, including:

  • The extremely high population density of the region. Located just 24 miles north of New York City, approximately 20 million people reside within 50-miles of Indian Point;
  • The nature of the region’s road system which is prone to heavy traffic congestion;
  • Significant “shadow” evacuation, i.e., self-evacuation, the evacuation of populations not told to evacuate;
  • The risk of intentional attacks on the spent fuel pools or dry casks containing over 1500 tons of nuclear waste on-site, which would result in a rapid radiological release far beyond the artificial 10 mile “emergency planning zone,” on which the current regulations are based.
  • Simultaneous terrorist attacks to critical infrastructure, such as the Tappan Zee Bridge, which would significantly alter evacuation routes;
  • Lack of proper communication capabilities in response to an intentional attack

“If proper benchmarks were put in place to require the actual workability of emergency plans, it would become quite clear that safe evacuation around Indian Point is infeasible, said Deborah Brancato, Riverkeeper Staff Attorney. “Continuing to ignore this fact and requiring mere procedural formalities amounts to nothing more than window dressing, reflecting the NRC’s insistence on placing the financial needs of the nuclear industry above public health and safety.”
View Riverkeeper’s submitted comments about the rulemaking.

Riverkeeper is an environmental watchdog organization whose mission is to protect the ecological integrity of the Hudson River and its tributaries, and to safeguard the drinking water supply of New York City and the lower Hudson Valley. For more information, please visit

Tell Gov. Hochul to block invasive species at the Erie and Champlain canals
Become a Member