Here are 2002 articles, editorials, op-eds and letters about Indian Point in chronological order with the most recent first. You can also find news from 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003 and 2001. If you find an article that should be included, please send it to ipsecpc@bestweb.net.

December 11, 2002

Indian Point still a concern
The Homeland Security Department needs to review conflicting claims on the nuclear power plant.
   
   There's no denying the significant contributions of the Indian Point nuclear power plant to the economy of the mid-Hudson and the quality of life of the state in general. The plant, on the Hudson River in Buchanan, generates tens of millions of dollars in disposable income through its employees. And it provides 11 percent of the power to the state grid, from which the mid-Hudson draws its electricity.
   For those reasons, closing it down, as has been urged by different citizens groups and politicians over the years, would have major negative impacts, unless there was a comprehensive plan in place to replace the energy and high-paying jobs lost by a plant closing.
   On the other hand, while there has always been an elevated level of anxiety in many citizens about the safety of nuclear power plants, concerns about the security of the Indian Point operation have been voiced with increasing frequency and urgency since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
   And safety and security issues, if they are credible, can trump any economic issues. If a nuclear power plant is not run in a safe manner, if its evacuation plan is faulty, if security is suspect, it doesn't matter how much power or money it generates. Either the flaws must be fixed or the plant must be shut down.
   At Indian Point, the jury remains out. Recent safety glitches have been corrected and the number of guards have been increased since Sept. 11, but questions remain about those areas as well as the feasibility of an evacuation plan that encompasses an increasingly more populous area.
   A report being awaited with great anticipation is one ordered by Gov. George Pataki. He named a task force to review Indian Point safety procedures and to assess the evacuation plan. That report is due soon and Pataki has said he would push the federal government to close the plant, if the report recommends that.
   Meanwhile, serious charges have been made about security at the plant, the latest by a security guard who has worked at Indian Point for six years.
   The guard, Foster Zeh, says security training of guards at the plant is phony and that any intruders determined to penetrate the plant – which could describe terrorists – could easily overwhelm its security force.
   Zeh, who says he assists with weapons and security training, says there aren't enough guards, their training is geared to the lowest acceptable level because so many can't pass it, guards are working long shifts, which causes fatigue, many guards are out of shape and the cursory weapons training they receive is useless as far as trying to combat armed terrorists.
   To which Entergy, which owns Indian Point, says:
   - Zeh doesn't know what he's talking about.
   - He's a disgruntled employee whose credibility should be questioned because he has been suspended over a "performance" issue.
   - The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission disagrees, having recently passed Indian Point on security.
   Entergy's views on Zeh are the usual ones voiced about whistle-blowers, but they could well be accurate. Right now, though, they are in the he-says/they-say category. And Zeh has the benefit of Entergy itself supporting his doubts about security. An internal company report issued in January and made public recently by Riverkeeper, an environmental watchdog group, says only 19 percent of the 160 guards stated "they could adequately defend the plant." That's hardly encouraging. And a number of guards say Zeh knows what he is talking about.
   The new Homeland Security Department has been given the responsibility for ensuring the security of nuclear power plants against terrorist attacks. One of its high-priority issues should be to review all the conflicting claims about security and safety at Indian Point and not to take any assessment at face value simply because of who made it.
   By virtue of its location in the densely populated suburbs of New York City, Indian Point is at once vital as a source of energy and attractive as a potential target for terrorists.
   The ideal solution would be to make it as safe and secure as possible within reasonable expectations, as that applies to nuclear power plants.   

Copyright Orange County Publications, a division of Ottaway Newspapers Inc., all rights reserved.

###

Environmental Research Foundation Home
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#749 - Our Nuclear Achilles' Heel, August 08, 2002

http://www.rachel.org/bulletin/index.cfm?issue_ID=2231

OUR NUCLEAR ACHILLES' HEEL

After 60 years of experience with nuclear power and weapons, it now
seems clear that humans are unable to devise controls that work. Nuclear
is too complicated and unpredictable for reliable human control. Unlike
renewable sources of energy, nuclear is an unforgiving technology
because normal human lapses and errors can produce unexpected
consequences that are catastrophic and irreversible. Yet as a nation,
our tax dollars are still massively subsidizing the expansion of
nuclear.[1] Furthermore our taxes are subsidizing the deployment of even
newer technologies that are far more complicated than nuclear, less
predictable, and therefore likely to plague our children with endless
trouble, namely biotech and nanotech.[2]

Here we examine nuclear technology from the viewpoint of rogue weaponry.
This is the true Achilles' heel of nuclear technology, a fatal problem
for which there is no fix: so long as we are expanding nuclear
technology, we are increasing the likelihood that radioactive materials
will one day be spread across an American city.[3] When it happens, it
seems likely to permanently damage, if not end, our traditions of an
open society with democratic checks and balances.

Tom Ridge, the President's director of homeland security, was recently
asked what form of terrorism worried him the most: "He cupped his hands
prayerfully and pressed his fingertips to his lips. ' Nuclear,' he said
simply." [3, pg. 24]

U.S. regulatory officials have consistently failed to acknowledge the
dangers posed by nuclear materials as tools for terrorists. For example,
on September 12, 2001 -- one day AFTER the World Trade Center atrocities
-- the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruled that citizen concerns
about plutonium fuel processing at Savannah River (in Aiken, S.C.) were
not valid because the complaining citizens (Georgians Against Nuclear
Energy) had failed to establish that "terrorist acts... fall within the
realm of 'reasonably foreseeable' events." [NY TIMES Mar. 25, 2002, pg.
A11.]

In 1982, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) ruled that owners
of nuclear plants do not have to design against such threats as kamikaze
airliner crashes because to do so would make nuclear electricity too
expensive to be competitive. "Reactors could not be effectively
protected against such attacks without turning them into virtually
impregnable fortresses at much higher cost," the NRC said.[4]

The U.S. has 103 operating nuclear power plants (plus 7 that are
closed), most of which are storing intensely-radioactive spent fuel in
40-foot-deep pools of boron-treated water to shield against radiation
and to keep the fuel from heating up, catching fire, and releasing
radioactivity. Unlike reactor cores, the spent fuel pools are not
covered by a concrete containment dome; they are covered only by a metal
building.

If the water were to drain out of a spent fuel pool, the fuel would be
exposed to a combination of air and steam, causing the zirconium outer
"cladding" of the fuel assemblies to catch fire and burn fiercely.[4]
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission acknowledges that such a fire could
not be extinguished and could burn for days, releasing large amounts of
radioactivity.

Water could drain from a spent fuel pool in several ways -- leakage,
evaporation, siphoning, pumping, earthquake, reactor failure, accidental
or intentional drop of a fuel transport cask, explosion inside or
outside the pool building, or airplane impact.

The main concern in spent fuel is cesium-137, a highly-radioactive
element that enters food chains masquerading as potassium. The spent
fuel currently held in the U.S. contains 20 to 50 million Curies of
cesium-137. A single spent fuel pool contains more cesium-137 than was
released by all the atmospheric nuclear weapons tests in the Northern
Hemisphere combined. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission acknowledges that
as much as 100% of the cesium-137 in spent fuel might be released by a
zirconium fire.

A spent fuel pool typically holds 5 to 10 times as much radioactivity as
the reactor core, and a zirconium fire would likely release more
radioactivity than a core meltdown and would probably be easier for a
disciplined group of suicidal terrorists to initiate. Draining the pool
is all it takes.

The Indian Point nuclear power plant, 35 miles north of New York City,
currently holds 1589 fuel assemblies in its spent fuel pool (compared to
386 fuel assemblies in the cores of its two operating reactors).[5] The
Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 1982 estimated that a core meltdown at
Indian Point could cause 46,000 fatalities and 141,000 injuries. [NY
TIMES April 4, 2002, pg. A23.]

Many spent fuel pools were not designed to hold all the fuel assemblies
they presently hold. Spent fuel was supposed to be "reprocessed" at
plants like the one that contaminated West Valley, N.Y. (see REHN #748)
but the technology failed to materialize. In the 1982 Nuclear Waste
Policy Act Congress promised to take all private-sector spent fuel and
bury it in the ground somewhere by 1998, but it didn't happen. Current
plans call for a spent fuel mausoleum beneath Yucca Mountain, Nevada,
but it won't be ready before 2010 at the earliest and it, too, may never
materialize.[6; and NY TIMES Feb. 15, 2002, pg. A19.] Meanwhile more
spent fuel is being squeezed into existing pools each year.
Astonishingly, the nuclear industry is now planning to build 25 to 50
new nuclear power plants in the U.S. and the Bush administration has
announced that it will provide millions of tax dollars, plus relaxed
regulations, to help them do it.[1]

Nuclear reactors of course are not the only source of material for
creating radioactive havoc. When the Soviet Union disintegrated, its
nuclear weaponry fell under the control of various smaller governments,
the economy of Russia went into a tailspin, and many Russian nuclear
scientists and military weaponeers found themselves without jobs and
without a way to feed their families. [NY TIMES Nov. 2, 2001, pg. B4.]
As Russia lurched into the early phases of a capitalist economy, a black
market in nuclear materials and expertise quickly developed. The NEW
YORK TIMES MAGAZINE summarizes it this
way: "Russia is a country with sloppy accounting, a disgruntled
military, an audacious black market and indigenous terrorists."[3, pg.
26]

Russia has somewhere between 4,000 and 30,000 nuclear weapons -- no one
is sure of the true number, including the Russians. [3, pg. 27] Some of
these weapons have only crude safeguards against detonation: "setting
one off would be about as complicated as hot-wiring a car," says the NY
TIMES. [3, pg. 28] Furthermore, Russia has an additional 80 metric
tonnes of plutonium "stored under less than ideally secure
conditions."[NY TIMES Aug. 27, 2001, pg. A20.] Russia's stored plutonium
is enough to make 10,000 A-bombs, assuming it takes 17 pounds to make a
bomb. Some say it takes only 12.

The simplest raw material for an A-bomb would be about 110 pounds of
highly-enriched uranium. [3, pg. 29.] The world's total inventory of
weapons-grade uranium is at least 1300 metric tonnes -- enough to make
26,000 small but effective A-bombs. A crude A-bomb could be delivered in
a standard "conex" shipping container -- 2000 of which arrive in the
U.S. each hour, and only 2% of which are opened for inspection.[7; and
3, pg. 28]

Reflecting on the dangers of a crude "conex A-bomb," Eugene E. Habiger,
the four-star general who was in charge of America's nuclear arsenal
until 1998 and then ran nuclear anti-terror programs for the Department
of Energy, says, "How do you protect against that? You can't.... It's
not a matter of IF ; it's a matter of WHEN." [3, pg. 28; emphasis in the
original.]

The NEW YORK TIMES reported May 26, 2002, that a very small nuclear bomb
(1/15th the size of the Hiroshima weapon), set off in Times Square,
would immediately kill 20,000 people and would condemn another 250,000
to a painful death by fire and radiation sickness.[3, pg. 57] It is
difficult see how the U.S. could remain an open, democratic society
after such an event.

A bi-partisan U.S. commission on rogue weapons reported in 1999 that
"Russia has no reliable inventory of its fissile material," meaning
plutonium and enriched uranium.[7] The commission said it knew of at
least seven instances in which weapons-grade fissile material had been
stolen from Russian plants or storage sites between 1992 and 1999.[7; NY
TIMES Jul. 9, 1999, pg. A13.]

In 2001 the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that 376
incidents of cross-border radioactive smuggling occurred between 1993
and autumn 2001, including military, industrial and medical materials;
18 of those instances involved plutonium or enriched uranium. [NY TIMES
Nov. 2, 2001, pg. B4.] American intelligence officials say the scope of
smuggling remains uncertain but they strongly believe that "only a
fraction of shipments are intercepted." The TIMES adds, "The worries are
heightened by the slackness of border controls and the economic
instability that has left customs officials vulnerable to bribes."[NY
TIMES Sep. 11, 2001, pgs. A1, A8]

Pakistan -- an impoverished, politically unstable nation -- has
assembled about 20 nuclear bombs (NY TIMES Nov. 2, 2001, pg. B4), which
were "built almost entirely through black markets and industrial
espionage," according to the NY TIMES [3, pg. 26].

North Korea -- another deeply impoversished, unstable nation -- is now
reported to have manufactured two nuclear bombs and to have acquired
enough plutonium to manufacture 10 more, making it the world's 9th known
nuclear power. North Korea is one of three countries that Mr. Bush has
labeled the "axis of evil." Perhaps hoping to appease the North Koreans,
the Bush Administration has begun building a new nuclear power plant in
North Korea. [NY TIMES Aug. 8, 2002, pg. A9.]

For terrorists, an easier alternative to an actual A-bomb would be a
simple but terrifying "dirty bomb" made by wrapping "high explosive"
around some radioactive waste -- thus spreading radioactivity downwind.
High explosive is fuel oil and ammonium nitrate fertilizer -- the
ingredients Timothy McVeigh used to blow up the Murrah Building in
Oklahoma City April 19, 1995. [NY TIMES Dec. 2, 1997, pg. A22.] Even if
no one were killed immediately, such a "dirty bomb" detonated in a city
could create extraordinary panic and could contaminate a huge area at
great cost. According to the Federation of American Scientists, a single
foot-long pencil of radioactive cobalt-60 from a food irradiation plant,
plus 10 pounds of TNT, detonated in lower Manhattan could contaminate
large parts of three states. Most of Manhattan could be as contaminated
as the area around the Chernobyl nuclear plant. The economic and
psychological damage would be enormous. [3, pg. 51]

What is the answer? We cannot prevent all terrorism (though reducing our
military-industrial intrusions into the Middle East to protect "our" oil
would help, after we seriously commit to reducing our dependence on
oil). More immediately, we could stop promoting and subsidizing
unnecessary and uncontrollable nuclear technologies such as nuclear
power plants, food irradiators, and nuclear bombs. As it is, the nuclear
industry -- with massive subsidies from U.S. taxpayers -- is greasing
the skids for the next level of domestic terror -- a Timothy
McVeigh-type bomb blasting a spent fuel truck into smithereens in
Chicago, or a teacup of cobalt-60 from a food irradiation plant atomized
by a few sticks of dynamite in downtown Atlanta or Minneapolis or
Washington, D.C.

The looming fight to stop the government-subsidized "renaissance" of
nuclear technology[1] will be one of the most important
environment-and-health fights of the 21st century. Environmental justice
and anti-nuclear activists, unite!

==============

[1] http://www.nei.org/documents/Speech_Abraham_2-14-02.pdf and
http://www.nei.org/documents/Vision2020_Folder.pdf and
http://www.nuclear-gen.com/.

[2] http://www.rafi.org/text/txt_search.asp?type=communique; see issue
#76.

[3] Bill Keller, "Nuclear Nightmares; Experts on terrorism and
proliferation agree on one thing: Sooner or later, an attack will happen
here," NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE May 26, 2002, pgs. 22-29, 51-57. Keller
is a senior writer for the NY TIMES.

[4] Reported by Robert Alvarez, "What About the Spent Fuel?" BULLETIN OF
THE ATOMIC SCIENTISTS Vol. 58, No. 1 (Jan./Feb 2002), pgs. 45-47.
Available at:
http://www.thebulletin.org/-issues/-2002/jf02/jf02alvarez.html.

[5] Congressman Edward J. Markey, "Security Gap: A Hard Look at the Soft
Spots in Our Civilian Nuclear Reactor Security." Report published March
25, 2002. Available at:
http://www.house.gov/markey/iss_nuclear_rep020325.pdf.

[6] U.S. Government Acounting Office (GAO), NUCLEAR WASTE: TECHNICAL,
SCHEDULE AND COST UNCERTAINTIES OF THE YUCCA MOUNTAIN REPOSITORY PROJECT
(Washington, D.C.: GAO, Dec., 2001.] GAO-02-191;
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d02191.pdf.

[7] http://www.fas.org/spp/starwars/program/deutch/







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###

May 10, 2002, 11:30 a.m.
A Mother’s Day Plea
Close Indian Point.

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-konig051002.asp

By Susan Konig

With three kids under seven, you've got to be organized. On my desk I've got three folders: Little League schedules, Brownie meetings, nuclear-evacuation plans.

Doesn't everyone?

My little Westchester town is just down the road from the Indian Point nuclear power plant, a few miles as the crow flies (or as the fallout drifts, depending on which way the wind is blowing). Our school office is now equipped with a special radio that will give information in case of an emergency. If the sirens sound from the plant, the normal school day will continue but kids will kept inside with the windows closed. Well, it's a plan.

Unless, of course, they're evacuated. Buses from another school district where the drivers don't even know my kids will supposedly pick them up and take them to the southeastern part of the county. Retrieving them might be a little inconvenient what with all the people fleeing and all.

And anyway, if the plant blows up or melts down, aren't we all going to be running in place like Wile E. Coyote before a big boulder drops on his head?

Our county executive, Andy Spano, said we'll soon be getting information about how to get potassium iodide, a drug to protect our thyroids from cancer caused by radiation. I started to wonder if my husband could get some from the New York Guard brigade he volunteers with. My mother wants to buy me an inflatable raft so we could escape by the Hudson River.

I was having a mom's coffee klatch with my friend Sue Ellen. The usual topics: potty training, teething pains, emergency-nuclear-evacuation supplies. "Oh, we have all that stuff in our tool shed," she told me. I was jealous. She has potassium iodide? AND a boat? I wondered if disaster struck today, should I go to her house? Does she have enough to share after taking care of her husband and three kids? Could we all fit in their boat? Should I bring cupcakes?

Turns out I misunderstood. She's got the potassium, but no boat. Just as well. Another neighbor just assured me that if a meltdown occurs the Hudson would boil over from Albany to Manhattan. That made me feel better about not having a boat. But then he added: "Well, at least we've got Cipro."

"Cipro, for meltdown?" I asked. He looked at me like I was just off the bus from Moronsville. "No, for anthrax!"

Man, everyone's got something! All I've got is a crummy refrigerator magnet from the county, reminding me to "tune in to one of the local radio or TV stations if sirens are sounded."

Then it hit me. This is all like some horrible futuristic scary movie. We shouldn't be living like this. They should just close the damn thing down.

Now wait a minute, I know what you're thinking: she must be some kind of granola-munching, sandal-wearing, Phil Donahue-loving, no-nukes-is-good-nukes panicky Naderite.

Nope. I don't even like granola. I have not one item of clothing made out of hemp. I've never marched against anything in my life, and I don't wear sandals.

My solid Republican credentials are impeccable. But the world has changed since September 11th and maybe we ought to let the vast left-wing conspiracy take a win on this one.

It's the neighborly thing to do.

— Susan Konig, a journalist, has just written a book, Why Animals Sleep So Close to the Road (and other lies I tell my children).

###

Demonstrators from both sides pack Indian Point hearing

By ROGER WITHERSPOON
THE JOURNAL NEWS
(Original publication: March 22, 2002)


Hundreds fill the lobby of Westchester County Center seeking to be admitted to a public hearing on evacuation plans for the Indian Point Nuclear Power plant last night in White Plains. (Matthew Brown/The Journal News)

WHITE PLAINS — Hundreds of chanting, shouting residents packed a Westchester County legislative hearing on the future of Indian Point last night to either demand an end to the nuclear plants or urge support for their continued operation.

The dueling demonstrations pitted about 400 union workers from the two nuclear plants in Buchanan, who came from the plant in four buses, against an equal number of members of the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition.

Before the 7 p.m. hearing, both groups massed on separate corners in front of the Westchester County Center, waving signs and chanting slogans. But as the hearing approached, the members of Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers union moved en masse to the center's Little Theater, which had seating for only 425. At that point, about 100 members of the anti-Indian Point coalition were already inside, seated in the front of the hearing room, and the union members packed the rest.

The majority of the coalition members, therefore, found themselves locked out of the hearing room and forced to mill in the building lobby. This triggered dueling demonstrations inside and outside of the hearing room.

In the lobby, the 300 or so anti-Indian Point members shouted, "Shut it down! Shut it down!" In the back of the lobby, the smaller number of union workers, prompted by a cheerleading union leader, Mark Williams, shouted the answering cry of "Keep it open! Keep it open!"

Though boisterous, the rivalry was civil, and police watched from a distance.

Inside the hearing room, where the union workers had the majority, speakers who favored the plants were greeted with cheers and thunderous ovations while those adults who favored shutting it down drew boos.

The evening hearing was the second contentious public forum held by the Westchester County Board of Legislators' Environment and Public Safety Committee on resolutions to decommission Indian Point's nuclear plants and have an independent review of the emergency evacuation plan for Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Orange counties.

Environment committee Chairman Michael Kaplowitz, D-Somers, said another hearing would be held in larger quarters to ensure everyone gets a chance to discuss the issues.

"We're here to listen," Kaplowitz said. "It is not easy to discuss Indian Point, for there are 1,500 people who work there and have hopes and plans and dreams which are at stake. But there are overriding public safety issues which, in my view, means we have to find a way to close the plant and find replacement job opportunities for them."

Greg Garvey, 15, of Valhalla High School drew cheers from the union workers when he said, "There is nothing to be afraid of at Indian Point. Nothing's going to happen."

Coalition members cheered 16-year-old Jeremy Syrop of Chappaqua, who countered that, "Indian Point threatens all of our lives. I don't want to die, and I don't want anyone here to die."

Among the adults, Alex Matthiessen, head of the environmental group Riverkeeper, said, "We have no doubt you are doing all you can to ensure that Indian Point is run safely. But the threat of terrorism is real. Indian Point is vulnerable, and you cannot protect that plant."

But Indian Point 2 engineer Dragos Nuta countered that, "If the terrorists fly around again, the safest place in the United States is in that containment building."

###

NUCLEAR REGULATION

Emergency Preparedness Issues at the

Indian Point 2 Nuclear Power Plant

Highlights of GAO-03-528T, a report to the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations, Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives

www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-528.

To view the full report, including the scope and methodology, click on the link above.

March, 2002

In 2001, GAO reported that, over the years, NRC had identified a number of emergency preparedness weaknesses at Indian Point 2 that had gone largely uncorrected. ConEd had some corrective actions underway before a 2000 event raised the possibility of a leak of radioactively contaminated water into the environment. ConEd took other actions to address problems during this event. According to NRC, more than a year later, the plant still had problems similar to those previously identified—particularly in the pager system for activating emergency personnel. However, NRC, in commenting on a draft of GAO’s report, stated that ConEd’s emergency preparedness program could protect the public. Four counties responsible for responding to a radiological emergency at Indian Point 2 had, with the state and ConEd, developed a new form to better document the nature and seriousness of any radioactive release and thus avoid the confusion that occurred during the February 2000 event. Because they are the first responders in any radiological emergency, county officials wanted NRC and FEMA to communicate more with them in nonemergency situations, in addition to communicating through the states. However, NRC and FEMA primarily rely on the states to communicate with local jurisdictions.

Since GAO’s 2001 report, NRC has found that emergency preparedness weaknesses have continued. For example, NRC reported that, during an emergency exercise in the fall of 2002, the facility gave out unclear information about the release of radioactive materials, which had also happened during the February 2000 event. Similarly, in terms of communicating with the surrounding jurisdictions, little has changed, according to county officials. County officials told GAO that a videoconference system—promised to ensure prompt meetings and better communication between the plant’s technical representatives and the counties—had not been installed. In addition, NRC and FEMA continue to work primarily with the states in nonemergency situations. Although they note that there are avenues for public participation, none of these is exclusively for the county governments.

GAO did not evaluate the draft Witt report or verify the accuracy of its findings. The draft Witt report is a much larger, more technical assessment than the 2001 GAO report. While both reports point out difficulties in communications and planning inadequacies, the draft Witt report concludes that the current radiological response system and capabilities are not adequate to protect the public from an unacceptable dose of radiation in the event of a release from Indian Point, especially if the release is faster or larger than the release for which the programs are typically designed. GAO is aware that, in commenting on a draft of the Witt report, FEMA disagreed with some of the issues raised but said the report highlights several issues worth considering to improve emergency preparedness in the communities around Indian Point and nationwide. NRC concluded that the draft report gives “undue weight” to the impact of a terrorist attack.

For more information, contact Jim Wells at (202) 512-3841 or wellsj@gao.gov.

###

Psychotic engineer worked at Indian Point

To the Editor:

It is absolutely infuriating and probably lethal to read the vested rationalizations for Indian Point, as in the extensive article you published by Joseph McCourt, in the Feb. 8 issue of the Inquirer.

My professional experience directly contradicts Entergy's supposed tight monitoring of employees. The single most psychotic patient appearing in my extensive psychiatric practice in the past two years was an engineer employed by Indian Point! This potentially dangerous patient, I later learned, committed suicide in the most violent manner.

The terrifying implications of having such a mentally ill, out-of-control individual working in a nuclear power plant stagger even the most limited imagination.

More bewildering is Mr. McCourt's self-serving assumption that Indian Point should be allowed to continue to exist because it is no more dangerous than a nuclear attack on New York. We continue to bury our heads in a nuclear sand!

Many years ago, as a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility I attended a very sad meeting on nuclear triage preparations for New York hospitals.

There I learned that no triage was really possible in a nuclear disaster because the asphalt roads would be boiling and the plastic in the steering wheel would melt as far away as Philadelphia. And this was with the older, far less lethal, nuclear bombs.

Given these facts, it is foolish and dangerous to continue to believe that any evacuation plan can suffice to protect our children, our families or our homes. Evacuate over molten highways?

Perhaps Mr. McCourt believes we should reinstitute the nuclear safety plans of the government in the '50s, when children were either provided a shovel to dig a small trench or asked to assume a safe position with their heads between their legs.

Certainly, if Indian Point is allowed to continue to exist because of a potentially lethal increase in our electric bills, we are being misled to again keep sticking our heads in the wrong place!

JOSEPH T. MARTORANO, M.D., P.C.

March