by Manna Jo Greene, Clearwater Director of Environmental Action
On Dec 12, 2015, 11 protesters from the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition (IPSEC) were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after blocking the entrance to the Indian Point Nuclear facility on the Hudson River in Buchanan, NY. The protesters timed their event to coincide with the expiration of the licenses permitting operation of the plant. “We are pleading guilty because we did it and are proud of what we are doing to make our community safer,” said Sally Gellert, one of those who had been arrested, at a hearing on March 8. “Nothing else has worked. The reactors are a continual danger to us all.”
Clearwater’s director of environmental action says her group supports the protester’s action, issuing the following statement on the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Clearwater fully supports the actions of the Indian Point 11. Their civil disobedience was entirely warranted. I have been the Environmental Director for almost 16 years. For the first several years of my tenure, I repeatedly tried to give the Nuclear Regulatory Commission the benefit of the doubt that, as regulators, they would put their responsibility to ensure public health and safety, and protect the environment ahead of the nuclear industries profits – and have been repeatedly disappointed. I have watched the NRC issue numerous safety exemptions, dismiss serious deficiencies and equipment failures, waive fines, and allow the fuel pools to become so severely overcrowded that we are risking a spontaneous fuel pool fire – as we witnessed happen at Fukushima. The Atomic Safety Licensing Board has ruled that reasonable concerns about the lack of a viable evacuation plan for New York City and the municipalities within the 50-mile peak injury zone around Indian Point are “out of scope” in the re-licensing procedures.
Just in the past eight months, there have been a series of alarming incidents at this aging, leaking and deteriorating facility, including a transformer explosion and an oil spill, a water pump failure, electrical anomalies due to bird droppings, loss of power to several reactor control rods, and a huge release of tritium and other radioactive isotopes into the groundwater under the plant. Add to this the Algonquin Pipeline expansion and we are truly playing Russian roulette with our future. We thank NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo for telling the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to halt this project and for calling for an independent safety analysis.
Most recently seven courageous NRC staff engineers needed to file a 2.206 petition to ask their superiors to require our nation’s nuclear fleet to repair a design flaw that renders the emergency electricity system which provides cooling to the reactor core useless. This failure was first defined in 2012, but when the engineers had no success working internally within this intractable agency, these highly skilled professionals had to resort to this extreme legal action to maintain their integrity.
Furthermore, the NYS Department of State Coastal Consistency Determination and many other studies have demonstrated that we don’t need the power that Indian Point generates. It is therefore clearly not worth the risk Indian Point poses to the nearly 20 million people who live or work within 50-miles of these reactors.
We praise the Indian Point 11 for taking actions that were an entirely appropriate recourse for the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
Manna Jo Greene is the Environmental Director for the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.
- Japan marks fifth anniversary of Fukushima nuclear disaster, Australian Broadcasting Company 3/11/2016
- Protesters arrested at Indian Point, Journal News 12/12/2015
- Cuomo Addresses Latest Indian Point Leak, 2/7/2016
- Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition
- It Takes A Village: Indian Point Roulette, 4/23/2011
- Indian Point Hearings: Risk vs Power, 6/2/2011