Bronx Assemblyman Marcos Crespo Calls for Senate Action on Legislation requiring study of Emergency Plans of Local & State Governments in Communities Near Six Nuclear Reactors, National Expert, Riverkeeper, NYPIRG, Clearwater Join Call to Examine Emergency Plans
Two years after one of the worst nuclear power plant catastrophes on the planet and almost one year after the Assembly passed legislation mandating a comprehensive review of emergency plans in communities within 50 miles of New York’s six nuclear reactors, Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo is calling for the State Senate to take action on his proposed legislation (A.2303/S1338).
According to Assemblyman Crespo, member of the Assembly Standing Committee on Energy, “There are serious questions as to the ability of local, state and federal government agencies to communicate and react to a nuclear emergency. In fact during Super Storm Sandy, three nuclear power reactors had to be shut down because of safety problems caused by the storm. It is time that New York review the evacuation and emergency preparedness of communities near the six nuclear reactors located outside New York City, Syracuse and Rochester.” He added, “My legislation requires such an examination so that New Yorkers will be better prepared in the event of a major release of radiation due to an accident or an act of nature.”
According to Doctor Irwin Redlener, Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, "Safe operations of a nuclear power plant must include detailed response plans that will protect the public in the event of a catastrophic emergency. The Indian Point facility does not satisfy this very basic requirement because, among other problems, should there be a large-scale radiation release, the evacuation plans designed to move people out of harms way are inadequate to the extreme. Evacuation planning for Indian Point remains inconsistent with a real understanding of population density, likely area of contamination, human behavior expectations, transportation realities or readiness of host communities. "
According to Crespo, “As scrutiny of nuclear energy facilities across the nation grows and with the revelation that the Indian Point nuclear power plant is located over fault lines that make it vulnerable to a strong earthquake, the public is entitled to know that New York has in place a comprehensive and well-prepared plan that can save the lives of tens of millions of New Yorkers, including those downwind of the Indian Point nuclear power plant.”
“The Bronx is 24 miles from Indian Point and all of New York City’s 9 million residents are within 50 miles of those nuclear reactors. In addition, two other nuclear reactors are within 50 miles of the City of Syracuse and its 145,000 residents. Another nuclear reactor is within 21 miles of the City of Rochester with its 210,000 residents. That reactor is one of the oldest nuclear reactors in the nation, going online in 1970. Combined over 70% of the entire population of New York State lives near these reactors,” declared Crespo.
"The Fukushima crisis clearly demonstrated that radioactive releases from nuclear plant accidents can have significant impacts well beyond the 10-mile zone currently covered by emergency planning requirements," said Dr. Edwin Lyman, senior scientist in the Union of Concerned Scientists' Global Security Program. "Computer modeling performed by the Union of Concerned Scientists in 2004 predicted that a severe accident or terrorist attack at Indian Point could expose New York City's children to high levels of radioactive iodine and could even trigger the need for the evacuation of Manhattan. The NRC needs to overcome its pervasive attitude of denial and take action now to protect the millions of people who are being exposed to needless risk."
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater shares Assemblyman Crespo’s concern. “Given the fact Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant is located at the intersection of two earthquake faults, as identified by a 2008 study by Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and that ’spent’ but still highly radioactive fuel rods are stored on-site in unprotected fuel pools, a much more robust emergency plan is needed," said Manna Jo Greene, Clearwater's Environmental Director. "In addition to the chaos and gridlock that would rapidly ensue throughout the greater metropolitan area, our emergency medical response system would quickly be overwhelmed in the event of a radiological disaster,” she added.
“We cannot wait until a potentially deadly catastrophe involving the accidental release of radiation by any nuclear power plant before we realize that New York State does not have available the first-line-of-defense resources that can save the lives of millions of our fellow residents, including millions of children,” stated Assemblyman Crespo.
Phillip Musegaas, Hudson River Program Director at Riverkeeper, stated, "Riverkeeper joins Assemblyman Crespo in demanding better for New Yorkers. The 10-mile emergency plan New Yorkers have in case of a disaster at Indian Point is wholly insufficient and gives no meaningful thought to the 20 million of us who would be affected. Assemblyman Crespo is right to call out the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to develop a real plan for evacuation, an issue that the agency won't even allow into Indian Point's relicensing hearing."
Crespo added, “New York must learn from the tragic events that have taken place in Japan and examine recent storm’s impact on nuclear power facilities in our own state so that we can ensure the safety of all our State’s residents.”
According to Crespo, “While current federal requirements mandate a 10-mile radius action plan in the case of an emergency at the nuclear power plant, New Yorkers are absolutely unaware of any such plans. Simultaneously, logic and historical precedence dictate that the proliferation of any radiation potentially released will not be limited to 10 miles of a nuclear power reactor.”
In fact, within 5 days of the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima, Japan, dangerous levels of radiation had traveled 160 miles and hovered over Tokyo, prompting the United States military to issue potassium Iodide pills to armed forces and their families and ordering American military ships out of Tokyo ports to avoid contamination.”