“Westchester exec, challenger split on Indian Point” by Greg Clary
“This time the Indian Point sirens didn’t blurt out “Emergency … Emergency.”
The nuclear plant’s latest test went off without a hitch Thursday, with 100 percent of the 172 sirens in four counties sounding as they were designed to.
That hasn’t always been the case.
In the last five years, the emergency warning system has seemed snakebit, with problems so chronic the owners finally opted to spend about $20 million to put in a new system.
That included the voice sirens that scared New City residents last month but were merely a test.
Thursday’s retest seems to indicate that the computer glitches from the new system have been solved.
It’s only one test, but put together with four straight successful tests prior to this fall indicates it probably won’t be long until they do away with the old sirens altogether.
The company’s efforts to control leaks of radioactive tritium and strontium 90 also got a thumbs up recently from federal regulators, who said Entergy’s longterm remediation program is being “effectively implemented and maintained.”
That has been another $20 million project, with plenty more to be spent because ongoing monitoring is required.
It’s clearly not time to hold a bake sale for Indian Point, given the fact that nuclear industry analysts estimate that the site generates as much as $2 million a day in revenue.
But with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission reviewing the plant’s license for a possible 20-year extention, the next year or so should prove critical to the plant’s future.
Without an extra 20 years, the site would have to begin shutting down in 2013 and cease operation by 2015.
So the plant and its operations continue to generate controversy.
The two county executive candidates in Westchester County, which is home to the plant, couldn’t disagree more on its future.
“I don’t support Indian Point, even if it was the safest plant in the world,” incumbent Democrat Andrew Spano said Wednesday night at the League of Women Voters debate at Pace University in White Plains. “It’s a nuclear plant in the middle of the … most densely populated area around any nuclear plant. It’s aged. They can’t even get the sirens to work.”
Rob Astorino, the Republican challenger, said Spano should stop pitching the idea of closing down the plant because the county doesn’t have the necessary authority.
“The county wanted a study (on shutting down the plant) done and spent $385,000 to see if Indian Point could be condemned or perhaps taken over by the county,” Astorino said. “Clearly, (the report) said no, don’t do that.”
Astorino said projections of increased need for electricity make the idea of taking Indian Point offline a bad one.
“If we take Indian Point out of the grid, do you know what’s going to happen to your electric rates, and all the jobs at Indian Point?” he asked rhetorically. “Indian Point is going to stay here and as long as it does, we need to make sure it’s safe and the community is safe.”
Spano believes that the nuclear plant can be replaced by a gas-fired plant or by allowing the energy markets enough time to come in and supply the electricity the region needs from other sources.
“Remember, all that (Indian Point) energy does not come here,” Spano said.
At least there’s a clear difference between the two candidates, so when you go to the polls next month, if Indian Point’s on your radar, you’ll have a choice.”
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