“America’s mantra has become  “What did they know, and when did they know
it?”.  Therefore,  it is unconscionable that we continue to turn a blind
eye on the clear and present danger of Indian Point.

Imagine for a moment the convening of the “independent” investigation
regarding an accident, earthquake or terrorist attack that caused a
major release of radiation.

NRC Chairman Diaz will be questioned as to why the NRC reduced oversight
the plant  only one week after a 20 year employee reported that Entergy
repeatedly ignored warnings about multiple cable separation problems
which could cause the loss of the emergency cooling system.  Diaz will
respond by repeating what he said  on the 25th anniversary of Three Mile
Island,  ” Few experts thought that such a severe accident was ever
likely to happen. Confidence in the technology was very high.”

The mingled computer cables  and other problems plaguing the plant,
including sump pump concerns , rust in the  dome, inadequate security
forces, and most unscheduled shutdowns than the other plant, were all
violations of NRC regulations. Diaz will say “the NRC had ‘reasonable
assurance’ they could ‘adequately  protect public health and safety’.
Though there was a possibility of disaster, we believed the odds were
extremely small.”

After FEMA Director Brown expresses his sorrow to the families of the
sick and dead, he will argue that the evacuation plan should have worked,
even though they were not certified by counties and the state.   He will
concede, “The paper drills proved insufficient in a real life scenario.”
Surely he won’t forget to thank the hundreds of first responders, who
lost their lives, while panicked people stampeded the inadequate road
system,  frantically gathering their families, and leaving their
property, jobs and lives behind.

President Bush and Tom Ridge will not actually appear before the
commission.  They will issue a statement that says, “.despite the
chatter of threats against our nations power plants and evidence that Al
Queda had targeted our nuclear  plants, there was not enough ‘actionable
evidence’ to establish federal security or even a no-fly zone at Indian
Point. It’s just unfortunate the financial and cultural epicenter of the
world, New York, is uninhabitable. The U.S. economy will suffer while we
relocate the survivors.”.

Governor Pataki will shift uncomfortably in his seat, as he recalls
commissioning former FEMA director James Lee Witt to study the
evacuation plan. In August of 2003, Witt concluded that the evacuation
plan was “not adequate to protect public health and safety”. Pataki will
defend his  unwillingness to call for closure, “Since President Bush was
planning to build more nuclear plants, I thought decisions regarding
closure and security should be left to the Feds”.   He hopes he can land
a job in DC,  now that his Garrison home is uninhabitable, being in the
radiological “hot zone”

Jim Steets, spokesman for Entergy, will point out that they spent $500
million improving the plant.  He’ll tell the panel that Entergy feels
just awful about the situation,  but  “We never dreamed that a quake
along the Ramapo fault would exceed the 5.5.  design standards”, despite
the warnings of the Lamont-Doherty scientists. “The Price-Anderson act
limits our liability to 38 billion, so in about 20 years homeowners may
collect some monies.” Unfortunately, homeowners will have to pay
mortgages and taxes on properties to which they can never return.

Senators Clinton and Schumer will vehemently defend their failure to
call for closure, despite the outcry of residents and the local elected
officialscalling for immediate shutdown. “Keep in mind,” states Sen.
Clinton, “there was an insufficient amounts of actionable evidence”.
Despite the February 2003 study that found the power from Indian Point
was replaceable, Sen. Schumer will claim we were studying the issues and
had called for additional security…”.

Return to Present: The counties face another farcical “paper” evacuation drill in June.  If the counties participate in the drill,  FEMA will rubber stamp  its approval.

Just 1% of our current defense budget could support and sponsor
renewable technologies, as America when the interstate road system was built. Jobs would be created  and dependency on foreign oil ended.  Also eliminated
would be the danger of Indian Point – which operates surrounded by a
population density that far exceeds present day NRC regulations.

Hindsight is 20/20.  Foresight is priceless.  By ignoring the obvious evidence our government officials are acting with gross negligence. They are making arbitrary and capricious decisions affecting our lives and the future of this nation.. The NRC is more concerned about protecting the profits of Entergy than the lives of 20 million American citizens.

Indian Point is a clear and present danger.   Let’s close and secure it before it’s too late.”

This editorial originally appeared in the Journal News