Associated Press Writer

November 1, 2005, 3:39 PM EST

WASHINGTON — A long-awaited federal review of security at Indian Point
and other nuclear power plants in New York is months overdue,
infuriating some New York lawmakers.

The national review was prompted by Rep. Eliot Engel last year based on
concerns about the Indian Point facility in Buchanan, N.Y. Sen. Hillary
Rodham Clinton later expanded the Coast Guard effort to survey the
vulnerabilities of nuclear power plants throughout the country.

The Coast Guard was directed to assess the plants’ vulnerabilities to
terror attacks from the water. The report to Congress was due Aug. 5,
almost three months ago.

“I’m told the report is written but that they’re still vetting it, this
and that, and every other excuse,” Engel, who represents parts of
Westchester and the Bronx, said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

“I don’t believe it and I really don’t care. They’re required to report
to Congress by a certain date and by golly they’re supposed to do it by
that date,” he said.

Indian Point is located about 35 miles north of midtown Manhattan.

Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, residents in the surrounding
suburbs have argued the facility is not properly protected from
potential terrorism, despite assurances by federal regulators and the
company that operates the power plant, Entergy Nuclear Northeast.

Clinton, D-N.Y., said the report was needed not just for Indian Point,
but for other nuclear sites in upstate New York, including Rochester and
Oswego, and similar plants around the country.

“Indian Point and New York’s other nuclear power plants are all located
on the water, and it is important that the Coast Guard evaluate whether
they are vulnerable to terrorist attack from the water,” Clinton said.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Angela McArdle said the review is taking longer than a year because it involves a number of agencies, and has been expanded to look at more than just water-borne terror threats.

“The Coast Guard and the other agencies are still doing reviews and
they’re still writing up their recommendations,” said McArdle.

She said the review for Indian Point is complete, and the results are
now in the hands of Department of Homeland Security officials.

Security reviews have yet to be done for 29 of the 40 nuclear power
plants at issue, McArdle said. She said it was unclear when the work
would be completed.

The Bush administration has missed dozens of congressional deadlines for developing ways to safeguard infrastructure, particularly air, sea, and
rail transportation.

The top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee blamed the Department of Homeland Security for being sluggish and unresponsive to lawmakers’ concerns, while some of the agency’s defenders fault Congress for imposing too many deadlines.

The department has to submit 256 reports to Congress every year.

Engel said the department is too big to be overworked.

“You’re talking about the agency with the most employees, the most
resources, and they are the ones dedicated to overseeing the country’s
homeland security. You get the feeling no one is on top of things,” said
the congressman.

Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.”