New York Lessons from Fukushima
- New York 10/09/2013 by Linda Perry Barr (WBAI News)

There is a  great debate over whether Indian Point Nuclear Power Plants should continue to operate beyond 2014 and 2016. That’s when their initial 40-year operating licenses are scheduled to expire. The NRC, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is moving toward granting a 20-year extension for each reactor. This is a bad idea according to participants at a symposium Tuesday at the 92nd Street Y examining "Lessons For New York" from the Fukushima nuclear accidents. 

The crowd attending the symposium is wary of nuclear power, wary of old reactors still operating, wary of safeguards in place to protect nuclear power plants in the U.S. from accidents and from terrorist attacks, especially at Indian Point which is close to New York City -- one of the most densely populated cities in the U.S.  Nayoto Kan, the Japanese Prime Minister during the Fukushima disasters said Japan was ill prepared for the meltdowns at the Nuclear Plants. They thought they had considered all options, but they hadn’t. He says technically it’s impossible to eliminate nuclear power plant accidents. He said the best way to prevent a nuclear accident is to get rid of nuclear power plants.

Dr. Gregory Jaczko who was Chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission during the Fukushima accidents says there are many myths that must be challenged. One is the myth that severe accidents won't happen in the U.S.  He talks about nuclear accidents which occured here at the same time as the meltdowns were occurring in Japan.

40 years and one very bad day is the theme Arnie Gundersen kept returning to when speaking about the possiblity of nuclear accidents in the U.S. He’s a nuclear engineer with Farewinds. He says companies like Entergy which run Indian Point claim their plants are safe but they're not.

Prime Minister Kan said with ten nuclear power plants close together and three hydrogen explosions at Fukushima Daiichi, he wondered at the time whether he would need to evaculate Tokyo. Now Tokyo is 120 miles from Fukushima - Indian Point is 26 miles from New York City. Gundersen comparing Fukushima and Indian Point says Indian Point is in worse condition than Fukushima was the day before the accident. One of the reasons is emergency planning - and the proximity of the plants to the city  Next he says is preparedness.

And it was Ralph Nader the crusader who brought risk home for many who attended the symposium.  He said above all nuclear power is an undemocratic technology. "Evacuation because of an accident at Indian Point is impossible."

With thanks to WBAI Listener Steve Kent and Riverkeeper, I’m Linda Perry, WBAI News, New York




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