“Right on Point” by Dan Donniger
“To the Editor:
In theory, there could be a more dangerous site to operate a nuclear-power plant than Indian Point, but so far it hasn’t been built [“Travesty at Indian Point,” Editorial, Dec. 5]. Indian Point stands alone, by virtue of being in an area so densely populated—20 million people live in a 50-mile radius—and by having a fatally flawed evacuation plan and a history of uncontrolled radioactive leaks.
This Entergy-owned-and-operated plant sits a few miles from one of New York City’s reservoirs, making the present tritium leak—which has an undiscovered source and is migrating further out and deeper into groundwater—particularly ominous. Nearly 50 years ago, when this plant was first proposed, it seemed a fine idea—but with the growing threat to human health and safety, and with rising ecological costs to mine uranium, produce the nuclear-fuel cycle and deal with growing radioactive waste, Indian Point has become a brilliant mistake.
In 2003, Governor George Pataki commissioned James Lee Witt, the former FEMA director, to assess Indian Point’s emergency-evacuation plan. Mr. Witt’s detailed analysis criticized the plan as unworkable, but since then, neither Mr. Pataki nor FEMA has acted to protect the public any better—and Entergy has no will to care. When government agencies and elected officials do not protect us from a threat to our security and well-being—particularly when it involves the drinking-water supply—it is a public-health failure of the highest order. Mr. Pataki should put an out-of-business sign on Indian Point’s door before he leaves office and show that he cares about the public’s health and safety. If he doesn’t, our next Governor should make it one of his first acts.
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