Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-16) repeated his call for the closure of Indian Point following the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report calling the emergency evacuation plan inadequate to protect people within the 10-mile evacuation zone. Rep. Engel was the first Member of Congress to call for the closure of Indian Point, and has repeatedly called the evacuation plan an impossibility.
"I have long argued that it was impossible for people to safely evacuate the region should there be a nuclear disaster at Indian Point. I recall a FEMA/NRC drill from about ten years ago which used a scenario where there was no traffic on the Tappan Zee Bridge. There is always traffic on the Tappan Zee Bridge. This is why I will re-introduce the Nuclear Disaster Preparedness Act, which will be revised to include the GAO report," said Rep. Eliot Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The Nuclear Disaster Preparedness Act mandates that the President put one Federal Agency in charge of coordinating the Federal response should a nuclear emergency happen.
Rep. Engel has also co-sponsored the Nuclear Power Licensing Reform Act, authored by Rep. Nita Lowey, to require the same stringent criteria used for licensing new plants to relicense older ones. This would include vulnerability to terrorist attacks, new seismic data and an ability to evacuate within 50 miles of facility. Rep. Engel's district -- and many others in New York and surrounding states -- would be affected by the 10-mile, the 20-mile and the 50-mile evacuation plans.
"The roads near Indian Point cannot sustain the traffic if people are forced to flee. Worse, some twenty million people live within 50 miles of Indian Point, and there is no way to safely evacuate. One of the hijacked planeson 9/11 flew over Indian Point on the way to the World Trade Center. The recent discovery of two nearby seismic faults, and the tragic disaster following the Japanese tsunami just add to the laundry list of reasons Indian Point is a bad idea," said Rep. Engel.
The 13-term Congressman added, "Indian Point would never be licensed today if it was a new project. Its location among millions of people, and its unworkable evacuation plans, would doom the proposal. If you factor in its dismal operational history - plagued unplanned shutdowns, and leaking spent fuel pools -- it should be closed as soon as possible."
Rep. Engel will also be re-introducing the Dry Cask Storage Act, which would require spent nuclear fuel to be moved from storage pools to dry cask storage within one year of the nuclear fuel being qualified to be placed into dry cask storage. The two reactors at Indian Point have spent fuel in their pools containing about three times more radioactivity than the combined total of all four spent-fuel pools at the damaged Fukushima reactors.