Several hundred anti-Indian Point protestors forced the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to turn over control of a meeting in Cortlandt last week originally scheduled to discuss the safety performance of the Buchanan-based nuclear power plants in 2010.
Prior to the meeting at Colonial Terrace, activists marched outside with signs that said “Hell No!! We Won’t Glow.”; “Shut Down Indian Point Now!”; and “Three Mile Island. Chernobyl. Fukishima. We Next?”
The opposition continued at earnest inside as NRC officials attempted to explain how the federal agency determined “that overall, Indian Point Units 2 and 3operated in a manner that preserved public health and safety and met all cornerstone objectives.” Each statement the standing-room-only audience disagreed with was interrupted with heckling and shouts of “liars,” “double talk” and “close Indian Point.”
NRC officials threatened to end the meeting but decided instead to forego the rest of their slide presentation and let the 90 speakers who signed up to have their say, which quickly became a free-for-all in a circus-like atmosphere.
Manna Jo Greene, environmental action director for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, said her organization had joined 45 others in petitioning the NRC to suspend all licensing and relicensing at 21 nuclear reactors throughout the country until “lessons” from the disaster in Japan “can be learned.”
In addition, she cited the “abysmal track record” of Indian Point and called for it to be closed and safely decommissioned.
Several elected officials joined in the NRC bashing as well. State Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D/95th District/Rockland) reminded everyone of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s stance against Indian Point, saying if the risk of the plants is too high, they should be taken out of service.
“It’s your job to protect the public, not the industry,” Jaffee said. “There is no way to get people I represent safely out of harm’s way if there is an accident at Indian Point.”
A representative for Congressman Eliot Engel (D) maintained Indian Point posed a major security and safety threat for the more than 20 million people that live within 50 miles of the plants.
“The stakes are too high,” Engel aide Joe O’Brien said. “Indian Point’s safety history is abysmal.”
The NRC is currently reviewing a 20-year relicensing application from Entergy, the current owners of Indian Point. Entergy Corporation Chairman and Chief Executive Officer J. Wayne Leonard recently took out a full-page ad expressing the company’s commitment to safety.
“As one of America’s leading nuclear operators, Entergy and its employees are dedicated to the continued safe operation of our plants. We remain committed to public safety, first and foremost, while providing Indian Point’s clean and much needed electricity to New York,” Leonard stated.