North County News, October 13, 2005

It’s clear the only realistic way to have the Indian Point nuclear power plants, located in an area on the shores of the Hudson River where 20 million people live within a 50-mile radius, shut down is for the licenses of the two operating reactors to not be renewed by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Which is why WestCAN, part of the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition (IPSEC), should be applauded for raising public awareness about that vital issue with its recently erected billboard on Route 202 in Cortlandt, that has caught many people’s attention.

Entergy, which has invested millions of dollars in the aging plants in Buchanan, is not simply going to walk away, so it’s essential that pressure be put on the NRC to seriously look at every aspect of the plants, including its shaky history, when it considers re-licensing the plants for another 20 years.

The NRC’s history is questionable in itself in the way it has basically turned a blind eye to the problems at Indian Point, so an intense lobbying effort is needed to open its eyes and convince them that having a nuclear plant that was built to last 30 years continue operating in a heavily populated area where such a facility should never have been situated is a major risk that should not be taken.

The licenses for Indian Point 2 and Indian Point 3 expire in 2013 and 2015 respectively, and the NRC requires the re-licensing process to begin no later than five years before the expiration date.

It’s been rumored, but never confirmed, that Entergy is planning to start the process for Indian Point as early this summer, which makes the WestCAN billboard perfectly timed.

Obviously, Entergy is never pleased with any attention directed at its plants since their main priority is turning a profit, but the ludicrous reaction of one of its spokespersons to the billboard in itself can’t be ignored.

When asked about the advertising, Jim Steets actually remarked, “The whole issue of Indian Point has been beat to death. People have run out of interest.”

That’s what Steets and Entergy officials want to happen, but, of course, anyone with a pulse knows that’s not the case.

As long as Indian Point remains open, and continues to be a serious threat to the safety of millions of people in the region, people will remain interested in it.

It’s a major issue in this year’s elections and hopefully behind-the-scenes talks that have apparently occurred with Entergy, the NRC and Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano will produce a final result that will remove a major worry for thousands of families.

Entergy may not want to admit it, but its time will soon be up at Indian Point. Thankfully, groups like WestCAN are keeping a close eye on the watch.