Fukushima Aftermath: Whither the Indian Point Nuke?

Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC) is a highly controversial three-unit nuclear power plant station located in Buchanan, New York just south of Peekskill- two miles from the Ramapo Earthquake Fault! It is close to expiration of its operating license and opposition has grown dramatically in the wake of the Fukushima-Daiichi disaster. With the Governor and citizens groups in opposition, the future of Indian Point is in the balance, along with the jobs of thousands of New Yorkers. Welcome to Wiki Books Fukushima Aftermath series, books you can help edit.

Introduction to the Wikibooks-Wikiversity textbooks


This Wikibook is the third of an anticipated series on nuclear plants and the second of the series devoted to specific nuclear power plants; the first book pertained to Diablo Canyon (Nuclear) Power Plant in California, offered in conjunction with a Wikiversity course entitled [California Government and Citizen Participation] and the Wikibook of the same name. That course can be generalize or modified to New York State.

Policies of Wikimedia Foundation set the pace


All policies of Wikibooks and Wikiversity apply and you are invited to read but also to write copy and edit existing copy. If you are reading this online, please familiarize yourself with Wikibooks protocols by clicking on the links to the left. All content herein is subject to the CCL 2 license which means that it is free for re-use with attribution in accordance with the CCL 2 guidelines.

The Disaster in Japan


History of protest and policy debates


Nuclear waste and public health



New York State Congressional Delegation


New York State officials


Post-Fukushima response by non-government organizations




Indian Point Energy Center: Introduction


Indian Point Energy Center sits on the east bank of the Hudson River, 24 miles north of New York City, New York. The plant, which includes two operating Westinghouse Electric Company|Westinghouse pressurized water reactors, is owned and operated by Entergy Nuclear Northeast, a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation. Entergy also owns the intact decommissioned Indian Point Unit 1 reactor. Total employment at the site is 1500.Template:Fix/category[citation needed]

Twenty million people live within a 50 mile radius of Indian Point, and the plant is in an area of elevated seismic risk and on the flight path of the airplanes hijacked by terrorists who crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.Template:Fix/category[citation needed] The Indian Point power plant has a history of problematic performance and there is considerable controversy about the plant's future.[1] However, the facility is designed with seismic considerations in mind - as demonstrated at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant in 2006, even seismic activity well in excess of design parameters will cause no damage to the nuclear reactors or containment vessels of a nuclear power station, with minimal, essentially negligible releases of radioactivity to the environment. In July 2013, Indian Point engineers reevaluated the seismic risk for Unit 3. It was shown that Unit 3's previous owner had conducted a more limited analysis in the 1990s than Unit 2's previous owner, giving the impression that Unit 3 had fewer seismic protections than Unit 2. Neither submission of data from the previous owners was incorrect.[2] It has been demonstrated that a terrorist attack, involving an aircraft being crashed into a nuclear reactor containment building, or other attack or disaster such as a tornado or bomb attack against the containment vessel, will not be capable of breaching the containment vessel.[3]

The Ramapo Earthquake Fault

Overview and history


The two reactors were built in 1974 and 1976. The plants are protected by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, including a national guard base within a mile of the plant, as well as by specialized and highly trained private on-site security forces. Plant security across the country has been increased since 9/11. Nuclear plant security is tested by federal officials, including mock assault exercises overseen by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), to assess Indian Point's defenses in the event of an armed assault. In September 2006, the Security Department successfully completed Force-on-Force exercises for the NRC.

A test of the plant's alert sirens was held on September 13, 2006, with 154 of 156 sirens operating properly. Of the two failures—both in Rockland County—one siren sounded but did not rotate, and the other experienced a transmitter failure. Entergy replaced the current sirens with a $10 million high-tech warning system, scheduled for early-2007 - however, it missed the target date and the NRC proposed a $130,000 fine.[4]

A fire occurred in a nonnuclear part of the facility, outside in the transformer yard on April 6, 2007. One of the two main transformers for Unit 3 experienced a failure. Transformer failures of this type are usually characterized by a low order explosion and a subsequent fire. There were no injuries and the plant's own fire brigade extinguished the fire.[5] There was a previous fire in 1971 that did between five and ten million dollars of damage to the Indian Point Two reactor. The fire was set in an auxiliary building (housing control panels, cables, and pumps) while Unit Two was fueled but not yet critical and Unit One was operating nearby.[6] Recently Indian Point has updated their siren system due to many residential citizens complaining about the old sirens and how supposedly they were not working correctly. There are still problems being worked out with the new sirens that have been installed at the power plant. Here is a short clip of the new sirens that have been installed.

On May 2, 2007 the NRC announced that the "License Renewal Application for Indian Point Nuclear Plant [is] Available for Public Inspection". Entergy has formally begun the lengthy process of applying to have the operating licenses of each unit extended by 20 years.[7]



Interest in shutting down Indian Point dates back to 1979 following the Three Mile Island accident. However, some industry groups have said that shutting Indian Point would put a severe strain on New York City's electricity supply. Entergy (the operator of the plant), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the NRC insist the plant is safe.[8]

Activists claim that radioactive contamination from a major accident with containment building|containment breach at Indian Point might reach populated areas including New York City, northern New Jersey, and Fairfield County, Connecticut. The United States Military Academy at West Point is also located approximately 13 miles to the north. The 1982 CRAC-II study by Sandia National Laboratories found that a core meltdown and radiological release at one of the two operating Indian Point reactors could cause 50,000 near-term deaths from acute Radiation poisoning|radiation syndrome and 14,000 long-term deaths from cancer.[9] Since that study, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) have disavowed the results as being an "extremely conservative consequence analysis" because it "did not reflect current plant design, operation, accident management strategies or security enhancements." The NRC is currently pursuing a new, state-of-the-art assessment of possible severe accidents and their consequences.Template:Fix/category[citation needed]

Public health concerns about the plant have also been raised by activists, specifically in terms of radioactive contamination. On February 15, 2000, the Indian Point II power plant vented a small amount of radioactive steam when an aging steam generator ruptured. The NRC initially reported that no radioactive material was released, but later changed their report to say that there was a leak, but not of a sufficient amount to threaten public safety.[10][11]

New York metropolitan newspapers reported on September 11, that American Airlines Flight 11 flew almost exactly over the Indian Point Energy Center en route to and no more than eight minutes from the World Trade Center. Mohamed Atta, one of the 9/11 terrorists, had considered nuclear facilities for targeting in a terrorist attack. It also flew directly over a fully loaded LNG tanker ship at dock in Boston Harbor.[12] Entergy says it is prepared for a terrorist attack, and demonstrated that a large airliner crash into the containment building would not cause reactor damage.[13] Following 9/11 the NRC required operators of Nuclear facilities in the United States to examine the effects and provide planned responses to terrorist events.[14]

In 2003, Directors of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Michael D. Brown and Joe Allbaugh certified the plant for operation and approved the evacuation plan. FEMA recently re-approved the evacuation plan for Indian Point, although the environmental activist group Riverkeeper contends that local residents and first responders question its effectiveness. Riverkeeper has lobbied more than 400 politicians (including 11 members of Congress), 500 local businesses, and over 200 police officers, firefighters, bus drivers, school teachers, and hospital workers to call for the plant's closure, criticizing, among other things, its allegedly unworkable emergency plan.Template:Fix/category[citation needed]

On May 30, 2007, the Pilgrim Nuclear Generating Station in Plymouth, Massachusetts, another plant owned and operated by the Entergy Corporation, accidentally faxed radiological advisories for the communities surrounding Indian Point in a test of its security systems. The reports were quickly dismissed due to lack of vital information, but Andrew Sutton, Westchester county's commissioner of emergency services expressed concern over the situation: "Let's face it, if it had a little more information on it and it had come at 3 a.m., these things can take on a life of their own." [15]

The press has reported incidents at Indian Point ranging from the siren failures to radiation leaks too small to be detected over natural background radiation in the area. Incidents which would be too small to get press attention at other types of generation facilities frequently become front page news if they occur at a nuclear plant. The articles listed below fail to mention that there is no evidence that technical specification effluent release limits have ever been exceeded during the plant's operation.[16][17] All of the articles listed below are also listed on the website of a company that sends email radiation alerts to paying customers only.[18] Articles about incidents at Indian Point include: N.Y. Nuclear Plant Alarms Failed [19] , Hairline cracks discovered in Indian Point fuel storage building [20] , Indian Point emergency pumps failed [21] , Pols blast latest Indian Point failure [22] , County Executive Diana Outraged Over Indian Point Siren System Failure [23] , Loss of Emergency Response Capability Due to Weather [24] , E-mails Show New York Knew About Radioactive Isotopes Under Indian Point [25] , Public last to know about leak at Indian Point (video report) [26] , Indian Point Siren Snafu Puts Pressure On Entergy [27] , Indian Point Sirens Down for Six Hours [28] , At Least 2 Failures in Indian Point Siren Test [29] , New Leaks Found at Indian Point from Unit 1 [30] and this article about a leak of water containing weak radioactive isotopes which did not contaminate groundwater outside of the plant's grounds or reach the Hudson River.[31]

A private, for-profit company called IPRadMon began offering the public radiation alerts by e-mail for "less than 3 cents per day". The IPRadMon website cite articles unrelated to the safety of the plant, claiming that "The articles listed below bring into question whether any action would be taken, and even whether the public would be notified in the event of an emergency." Articles listed on the IPRadMon site on 5/9/2008 include "Entergy's Non-utility Nuclear Spinoff Plan Draws Opposition"[32] and "Entergy's Spinoff Plan Faces Resistance"[33] Westchester County since began offering a free service that send alerts "in case of a large-scale emergency" in the county by email, text messaging and/or phone message. New York City is considering a law that will require permits for the ownership of radiation detectors as well as devices that can detect chemical and biological contaminants in the air. This article NYPD Seeks an Air Monitor Crackdown for New Yorkers [34] discusses the plan. The New York City bill is titled Intro 650.[35]

Some environmental activists feel the lack of greenhouse gases emitted during nuclear power generation outweighs the alleged security risks. On February 23, 2007, Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore wrote an opinion piece in the New York Post in favor of keeping Indian Point open, saying: "I strongly support renewal of the license for the Indian Point nuclear plants in Westchester, which provides 30 percent or so of the electricity used in the New York metro area."[36]

On November 7, 2006, John Hall was elected Congressman in the 19th District of New York State, which is the district where the Indian Point nuclear power plant is located. Hall, formerly a musician, performed at the 1979 No Nukes concert in Battery Park where half a million people gathered in support of a shut down of Indian Point.[37]

On April 23, 2007, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission fined the owner of the Indian Point nuclear plant $130,000 for failing to meet a deadline for a new emergency siren plan. The 150 sirens at the plant are meant to alert residents within 10 miles to a plant emergency.[38]

On Sept. 23, 2007, An antinuclear group filed legal papers with the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission), stating their opposition to the relicensing of Indian Point Unit 2. The anti-nuclear group Friends United for Sustainable Energy, or FUSE, based in New York, contends that for decades the NRC and its predecessor, the Atomic Energy Commission, improperly held the Indian Point reactors to less stringent design requirements than those the government applied to newer plants.[39]

On December 1, 2007 Westchester County Executive Andy Spano, New York Attorney General Cuomo, and New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer called a press conference which included New York State Assemblyman Richard Broadski, Congressman John Hall, Congresswoman Nita Lowey and many other elected New York officials. Advocacy groups Clearwater and Riverkeeper were also included. The purpose of the press conference was to make clear the united opposition on all levels of government to the re licensing of the Indian Point nuclear power plants. The Department of Environmental Control and the Office of the Attorney General jointly filed 32 Contentions, or reasons, requesting a hearing on this matter as part of the process put forth by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. One section of the contentions detailed ways to replace the electricity generated at Indian Point. Template:Fix/category[citation needed]

As of January 2008, Entergy is to be fined $650,000 for "being too slow" to ensure public warning systems had back-up power at Indian Point. Entergy failed to upgrade the mandatory emergency warning system as required by the 2005 Energy Policy Act. The civil penalty of $650,000 proposed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for Entergy is ten times the base level for this class of violation.[40]

Media coverage

  • HBO aired a television dramatization surrounding the controversy called Indian Point: Imagining The Unimaginable. [1] It first aired on September 9, 2004, and was directed by Rory Kennedy. Ms. Kennedy is the sister of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Mr. Kennedy is the legal consul for the anti-nuclear environmental advocacy group, Riverkeeper.
  • The New York Times published a story on September 24, 2007 reporting on the rigorous legal opposition Entergy faces as the company announces its intent to request a 20-year licensing extension for its aging Indian Point 2 reactor.[2]
  • Frontline created an episode entitled Nuclear Reaction with associated legal references. [3]

In literature


The book Night Siege, by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, details an infamous incident where UFOs flew over the plant and purports that a massive cover-up was done such as at Roswell UFO incident|Roswell in 1947. Many however, contend that there is no credible evidence of UFOs from extra-terrestrial locations.
Additional info: Night Siege was written by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Philip J. Imbrogno, and Bob Pratt. Dr. Hynek was chairman of the astronomy department at Northwestern University. He has written astronomy books and articles that have appeared in numerous science journals. He was chief scientist for NASA's satellite tracking program, and for twenty years he was the scientific consultant to the United States Air Force in the investigation of the UFO phenomenon.

See also


Wikibooks: Fukushima Aftermath (Overview) Fukushima Aftermath: Diablo Canyon Redux?


  1. New York State Notice of Intention to Intervene
  2. Entergy Reassesses Earthquake Risk For Indian Point Three
  3. Aircraft Crash Impact Analyses Demonstrate Nuclear Power Plant’s Structural Strength
  4. NRC press release on sirens
  5. "Fire Breaks Out At Indian Fire Nuclear Plant". CBS News. April 6, 2007. http://wcbstv.com/topstories/local_story_096112528.html. 
  6. Brittle Power, p. 145.
  7. NRC press release on licensing
  8. NRC: Search Results and Options
  9. Edwin S. Lyman, PhD (September 2004). "Chernobyl on the Hudson?: The Health and Economic Impacts of a Terrorist Attack at the Indian Point Nuclear Plant". Union of Concerned Scientists. http://www.ucsusa.org/global_security/nuclear_terrorism/impacts-of-a-terrorist-attack-at-indian-point-nuclear-power-plant.html. 
  10. Allen Lutins (January 23, 2006). "U.S. Nuclear Accidents". Retrieved December 29, 2006.
  11. "NRC Information Notice 2000-09".
  12. Paul Thompson; et al. (December 27, 2006). "Complete 911 Timeline". Cooperative Research. Retrieved December 29, 2006. {{cite web}}: Explicit use of et al. in: |author= (help)
  13. Aircraft Crash Impact Analyses Demonstrate Nuclear Power Plant’s Structural Strength
  14. U.S. Approves Evacuation Plan For Indian Point Nuclear Plant|publisher=The New York Times|date=July 26, 2003|author=Randal C. Archibold & Matthew L. Wald}}
  15. "Mass. power plant inadvertently sends alerts to Hudson Valley". The Journal News. May 31, 2007. http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007705310387. 
  16. NRC Information Notice 2000-09: Steam Generator Tube Failure at Indian Point Unit 2
  17. NRC: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Indian Point
  18. ipradmon.com: Indian Point Area Radiation Monitoring Alerts
  19. "N.Y. Nuclear Plant Alarms Failed". Fox News. July 19, 2005. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,163041,00.html. 
  20. "Hairline cracks discovered in Indian Point fuel storage building". Indian Point Energy Center. September 20, 2005. http://safesecurevital.org/spentFuel/newsRelease.html. 
  21. "Indian Point emergency pumps failed". Times Herald-Record. August 2, 2005. http://archive.recordonline.com/archive/2005/08/02/brf3.htm. 
  22. "Pols blast latest Indian Point failure". Times Herald-Record. August 17, 2005. http://archive.recordonline.com/archive/2005/08/17/brf78.htm. 
  23. "County Executive Diana Outraged Over Indian Point Siren System Failure". Orange County, New York. October 18, 2005. http://www.co.orange.ny.us/orgMain.asp?storyID=2431&sid=. 
  24. "Loss of Emergency Response Capability Due to Weather". National Regulatory Commission. January 18, 2006. http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/2006/20060119en.html#en42269. 
  25. "E-mails Show New York Knew About Radioactive Isotopes Under Indian Point". The Journal News. March 2, 2006. http://www.shundahai.org/3-2-06JrnlNews_Emails_Show_NY_Knew_About_Radioactive_Isotopes_Under_Indian_Point_in_December.htm. 
  26. "Public last to know about leak at Indian Point". WCBS. March 6, 2006. http://wcbstv.com/video/?id=85538@wcbs.dayport.com. 
  27. "Indian Point Siren Snafu Puts Pressure On Entergy". WCBS. March 8, 2006. http://wcbstv.com/topstories/Indian.Point.computer.2.233765.html. 
  28. "Indian Point Sirens Down for Six Hours". WCBS. August 2, 2006. http://www.wcbs880.com/pages/63872.php?contentType=4&contentId=181620. 
  29. "At Least 2 Failures in Indian Point Siren Test". 1010 WINS. September 14, 2006. http://www.1010wins.com/pages/82981.php?contentType=4&contentId=205206. 
  30. "New Leaks Found at Indian Point from Unit 1". North County News. November 29, 2006. http://northcountynews.com/Apps/FullSize.aspx?articleid=1598. 
  31. "National, State and Local Leaders To Meet For Discussion on Radioactive Leaks At Indian Point". E-WIRE. March 1, 2008. http://www.ewire.com/display.cfm/Wire_ID/3727. 
  32. ArkansasBusiness.com - Entergy's Non-utility Nuclear Spinoff Plan Draws Opposition
  33. Free Preview - WSJ.com
  34. "NYPD Seeks an Air Monitor Crackdown for New Yorkers". The Village Voice. January 8, 200. http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0803,thompson,78873,2.html. 
  35. "Stop Intro 650 Now". New York Committee for Occupational Saftey and Health. May 1, 2008. http://www.nycosh.org/intro_650_page.html. 
  36. Patrick Moore (February 23, 2007). "Nuclear & Green: Indian Point An Enviro Plus". New York Post. http://www.nypost.com/seven/02232007/postopinion/opedcolumnists/nuclear__green_opedcolumnists_patrick_moore.htm. 
  37. Rock the Reactors:Shut Down Indian Point in 2008
  38. Buchanan: Nuclear Plant Owner Fined
  39. Mathew L. Wald New York Times (September 23, 2007). "Indian Point Faces New Challenge From Opponents". http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/24/nyregion/24nuke.html?ref=nyregion. 
  40. US regulator dishes out fines



Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Wiki Books


Appendix: Contributors


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Many people wrote Wikipedia articles which were imported to Wikibooks by Geof Bard with the aid of administrators Adrignola and Quite Unusual. Matisse and other users to be enumerated also provided assistance. The original introduction and many of the Wikipedia articles were written from scratch also by Geof. The article writers user names can be viewed by clicking View history. If you contribute and would like to be listed please add your name to this section.


  • The staff at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have been very helpful at public forums at which they provided very learned answers to questions from the public.
  • Dr. Norm Abrahamson of the University of California at Santa Barbara was the keynote speaker at a forum in November 2010 in San Luis Obispo and provided an excellent encapsulation of earthquake related issues at DCPP.
  • Sandra S. Schulz and Robert E. Wallace authored material on the San Andreas Fault which was made available on a USGS dot-gov website.
  • David Weisman and Rochelle Becker are principals in the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility and through their website and listserv made much information available which was not available through other sources.
  • Administrators at Wikibooks have gone beyond the call of duty and gave generously of their time correcting errors and providing state of the art software tools. Particularly patient and helpful have been the administrators logging in as Adrignola and the aptly named Quite Unusual.