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“Riverkeeper warns lawmakers of risks at Indian Point” by Jorge Fitz-Gibbon

“WHITE PLAINS — It wouldn’t take a tsunami to dangerously damage the Indian Point nuclear reactors, an environmentalist group told Westchester County legislators on Monday.

Speaking one month after an earthquake and tsunami set off a crisis at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant, Hudson Riverkeeper Paul Gallay also told a county board committee that radioactive spent fuel pools at the Buchanan reactors are Indian Point’s “Achilles’ heel.”

“All of these issues do not require a tsunami, which is one of the things that Indian Point says, and says that we should be easy in our minds because we won’t have a tsunami,” Gallay said. “Well, if this plant is not equipped to handle an earthquake without a tsunami, we could be in the situation we find ourselves in in Japan.”

“There are issues associated with the age of the plant that have to do with corrosion of piping, that have to do with metal fatigue in the containment dome, that have to do with embrittlement of the containment dome,” he said.

The public meeting, held at the Michaelian Westchester County Office Building in White Plains, is the last in a series held by Legislator Michael Kaplowitz, D-Somers, and Legislator Martin Rogowsky, D-Harrison.

Kaplowitz chairs the board’s Committee on Environment and Energy ; Rogowsky chairs the Public Safety and Security Committee.

“Whether Indian Point is open or closed, we’re going to need an evacuation plan because of the spent fuel that is at Indian Point,” Kaplowitz said Monday.

“So we’re going to deal with this issue for as much as 10,000 years, the scientists tell us,” he said. “And certainly dry cask as much as 100 years in the current format, and the spent fuel as it currently exists for some period of time.”

Kaplowitz said the continuing nuclear crisis at Japan’s Fukushima plant warrants close scrutiny of Indian Point, which sits near an earthquake fault.

Federal and state officials have also made nuclear safety a priority, prompting the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to assure that Indian Point will top the list when the agency conducts more thorough seismic assesments of the nation’s nuclear plants.”

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