Dear Editor:

The Poughkeepsie Journal editorial endorsing Senator Sue Kelly contained two factual errors. First, a nuclear power plant becomes substantially less of a threat fairly soon after shut-down. As per a 2002 analysis conducted by the Nuclear Control Institute (NCI), within 20 days following shutdown, the number of acute fatalities (w/in 10 miles) from a core meltdown and breach of containment could be reduced by 80% and the number of long-term cancer deaths (w/in 50 miles) could be reduced by 50%. The simple reason is that the reactor core’s inventory of short-lived radioisotopes is significantly reduced. It is also far more feasible to protect and monitor a facility that is not up and running. This analysis is available at

The second error is that Sue Kelly did, in fact, call for closure of Indian Point on January 10, 2003, following the release of the Witt Report. She called for the plant to be closed until the emergency plan flaws iterated in the Witt Report were resolved. The vast majority of such flaws have not been corrected. Moreover, as the Witt Report indicated, several major flaws (such as the inadequacy of the regional roadway infrastructure to handle a mass evacuation or the ability of the regional authorities to cope with a fast-release event, which might occur in a terrorist attack scenario) are likely irremediable.

Michel Lee, Esq.

Chairman, Council on Intelligent Energy & Conservation Policy

White Plains, New York

This editorial originally appeared in the Poughkeepsie Journal