BUCHANAN, N.Y. — “Now” was the message hundreds of activists chanted as they gathered outside Indian Point on Sunday, calling for the closure of New York’s nuclear power plant.
One year after an earthquake led to a nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, anti-nuclear activists commemorated the incident and renewed their call for the closure of Indian Point.
“They deceive themselves into believing the reactors are safe, if you were at the Fukushima you see that it is a lie. You see the deception and cover up,” said a plant worker from Fukushima who spoke through a translator at the event.
No More Fukushima’s Peace Walkers walked to the plant with signs and in hazmat suits, calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to shut it down.
Hudson River program director at Riverkeeper, Phillip Musegaas, announced Riverkeeper’s campaign Sunday aptly titled “Don’t Let it Happen Here.”
“When you look that the risk that Indian Point poses, and you start to look at the real information out there, real information about how we can replace this plant the choice is really simple. We need to close this plant,” Musegaas said.
Musegaas said those in attendance and elsewhere needed to call on the governor to have the plant closed because he has the power to do it.
“He can order state agencies to put out a request for proposals to replace 2000 megawatts of energy in the Hudson valley,” Musegaas said.
Mark Jacobs, who hosted the speeches outside the plant, warned Cuomo that he could be the governor who shut down the plant, or the governor who didn’t.
Cortlandt Council Member Richard Becker was out in full support of closing the plant on Sunday, saying it’s something that never would have been built today.
“I don’t think there’s anything that can make it absolutely safe, I don’t believe that you can count on every contingency,” Becker said. “This is something we cannot guarantee the safety of forever."
Indian Point Spokesperson Jerry Nappi said the plant, which is currently on the track to be relicensed, was designed to withstand catastrophes multiple times the size of what happened in Japan.
“Even before Fukushima the plant was designed to withstand an earthquake 100 times stronger than has ever been experienced in this area, and at least twice the level of flooding,” Nappi said. “Fukushima had nothing like the safety margins we currently have.”
Prior to the disaster, the Indian Point had eight diesel electric generators in four different locations, all at elevations protected from flooding. Since Fukushima, it has added two additional pieces of diesel powered equipment and additional pumps to help with flooding.