KINGSTON — Ulster County should urge federal authorities not to renew
Indian Point’s license to operate nuclear power plants in Westchester
County, a legislator from there told Ulster’s Legislature Wednesday.

Entergy Nuclear Northeast, which owns the plants, has said it intends to
apply to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a 40-year license renewal
when its permits to run the Indian Point 2 and 3 reactors in Buchanan
expire in 2013 and 2015.

The time is now to plan for a future without the nuclear plants, which
supply more than 2,000 megawatts of electricity to the power-hungry lower
Hudson Valley and New York City, Westchester Democrat Michael Kaplowitz
said. The specter of terrorism and the age of the plants are reasons to
look at alternative energy sources, he said.

Westchester passed a resolution urging the commission to deny the permits
once Entergy applies for them. Westchester, Orange and Rockland counties
have for several years refused to certify emergency evacuation plans for
the 10 miles around the plant, largely because local roads would be
inadequate to handle the exodus.

”It’s time to plan this phase-out,” he said.

Study due this year

Westchester commissioned a study that will analyze the consequences of
closing Indian Point or switching to a new power source. The report is
expected this year.

Nearly one-third of Indian Point’s 1,300 employees live in Dutchess County.

Kaplowitz’s presentation, which was preceded by a 15-minute excerpt of a
recent HBO documentary that concluded the plants should be shut, was met
with mixed reaction from legislators.

”Why is this important to us? In Chernobyl, 10 percent of the reactor was
destroyed, and places 100 miles from the site were uninhabitable,” said
Ulster lawmaker Susan Zimet, D-New Paltz. King-ston is about 50 miles from
Indian Point.

”I think we have to hear from the other side of the argument,” said
Chairman Richard A Gerentine, R-Marlboro. At least until then, he wasn’t
inclined toward supporting a resolution that urged a denial of Indian
Point’s application.

Entergy spokesman James Steets, reached by phone after the meeting, said
the plants are vital because they produce reliable energy without air
pollution, employ hundreds and contribute money to the local community via
payments in lieu of taxes.

”It would be a tragedy not to license those plants,” Steets said.

This article originally appeared in the Poughkeepsie Journal