The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York


May 27, 2011

Keep the pressure on to shut down Indian Point

Since the decision to relicense a nuclear power plant is made by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and nuclear industry is protected against liability, most of the time there is very little that the public can do to make itself heard on the matter. “Indian Point continues to meet our standards,” NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko earlier this month at a press conference held in the shadow of Indian Point.

Even government agencies have little sway: be it the county — which held hearings on the plant earlier this year; the state, which is challenging the nuclear plants cooling system in court; or even a federal legislator like Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, who has dedicated himself to holding the industry accountable. Despite the fact that five Hudson Valley county executives declined to certify Indian Point’s emergency evacuation plan, and that no viable option currently exists for the long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel, and that proven means to replace the energy exist through the grid, conservation and alternative sources, the drive to provide a genuine analysis of the safety and reliability of the plants is still elusive. The dangers of the plants continue to be as threatening as any that existed at Fukushima: older reactors, inability to handle multiple crises simultaneously, inadequate and dangerous fuel storage facilities, lack of public involvement in the safety plans and inadequate health treatment facilities in the case of a major radiological incident. In some ways, it could be argued that Fukushima was actually better prepared than Indian Point is today.

One rare and critical opportunity for the public to be heard will come at a public meeting of the NRC staff on Thursday, June 2, regarding the agency’s annual assessment of safety performance for the Indian Point nuclear power plant during 2010. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Colonial Terrace catering facility, at 119 Oregon Road in Cortlandt Manor.

Prior to the session’s conclusion, there will be an opportunity for members of the public to ask questions of the NRC staff regarding the plant’s performance, as well as the agency’s oversight of the facility.

Indian Point’s licenses expire in 2013 and 2015, respectively, but the public input portion of the relicensing application process will begin this summer and is expected to last about 30 months. The plant is operated by the Entergy Corp., which is seeking a 20-year extension.

Let’s face it: with a lack of an aggressive federal alternative energy policy, nuclear energy is not going away anytime soon. But if this one plant can receive the scrutiny and the safety attention that it will need on a daily basis in the short-term, perhaps we can patiently wait out the relicensing process, and hope that intelligent heads prevail and elect to shut down this time bomb on the Hudson.

Memorial Day

Watching president Barack Obama among the crowd at College Green in Dublin, Ireland on Monday, we kind of got the sense of what it was all about. On the hi-def widescreen TV, the president’s magic sparkled like Lucky Charms. As he spread a message of international friendship to an adulatory crowd, we noticed the faces of the Secret Service standing at his side. This was a magical moment, yet it was also one in which the chief executive is vulnerable.

It reminds us that those who protect our leaders, who defend our nation on any soil, foreign and domestic, are providing the ultimate service to our country. In Ireland, we were greeting longtime allies, but there are spots in the world that carry the ultimate risk.

While battles may seem distant, our soldiers remain deployed across the world to preserve our safety, and to promote our message of American friendship, goodwill and values.

Let’s honor them by participating in Memorial Day ceremonies this Monday.


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South Salem/Vista

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Cross River

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