However, there are certain elements, unique to Indian Point, that are beyond the scope and responsibility of workers at the plant and heighten the level of anxiety among residents, even beyond the threat of a destructive earthquake near the facility.
By any standard, Indian Point is an older plant. Construction of the facility began in the 1970’s. It is less than 50 miles from New York City and is located across the river from where tanker trains transport volatile bakken crude oil on a daily basis. Add to that the existence of high pressure, explosive gas pipelines located in close proximity to the plant and there is reasonable cause for concern.
And while Governor Cuomo has prudently ordered an independent study assessing the dangers of fracked gas pipelines near a nuclear power plant, that study has never been released to the public, even though it was initiated nearly two years ago, and there has been a constantly public outcry for its publication.
Then there is the issue of independent and responsible monitoring and oversight of the plant and nearby gas pipelines. We depend on government regulatory agencies designed to protect us, to do just that. So it is disturbing to learn of certain lapses in this area. For example, a report by Itai Vardi in the January 14, 2018 issue of DeSmog is particularly alarming. According to the report, Environmental Research Management (ERM) the federal government contractor charged with overseeing construction compliance and the environmental review of Enbridge’s Atlantic Bridge pipeline project through Yorktown and within a few miles of Indian Point, has extensive business ties with Enbridge. This is an obvious conflict of interest and a clear breech of public trust and another cause for added concern.
The residents of our area and beyond must endure the hardships of having a 42″ gas pipeline constructed through their neighborhoods and within close proximity to a nuclear power plant. They may have, at least, had the comfort of knowing that the pipeline construction company was being carefully monitored by an objective government agency. But that also, seems not to be the case.
There are certain risks that are inevitable. But it would be unwise to take unnecessary chances with our lives and safety. None of these risks can be a alleviated by theskilled work of the Indian Point staff, no matter how dedicated they are.