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Lowey, Engel Call for Congressional Hearings on Indian Point Safety
Congresswoman Nita Lowey and Congressman Eliot Engel are calling on the House Energy and Commerce Committee to hold hearings on the licensing of what they are calling "High risk nuclear facilities" such as Indian Point, which are located in densely populated areas.
Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said, "It is time for the NRC to realize that natural disasters and terrorism are all too real. Because of its location it is too inviting a target." He also expressed deep concerns that the plants are built along the Ramapo fault.
"It is unacceptable that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not required to take into account factors like population, national security and evacuation plans in determining the re-licensing of aging nuclear power plants like Indian Point," said Lowey. "In the event of a terrorist event, earthquake or other natural disaster affecting Indian Point, the entire population of New York City and its suburbs would need to be evacuated."
Next week, the two lawmakers plan to re-introduce the Nuclear Power Licensing Reform Act, which would require the NRC to evaluate aging power plants to be re-licensed with the same stringent criteria used to license new plants.
Entergy spokesman Jim Steets says the company welcomes the recent interest in the safety at the plants, following the nuclear crisis in Japan. He maintains Indian Point is unlikely to experience an earthquake of the magnitude seen in Japan and says the fact that it is built in bedrock and has numerous power redundancies, makes it safe for people living in the surrounding counties.
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