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Cuomo orders safety review of Indian Point

March 16, 2011 8:28:18 PM PDT
Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to review information from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about safety of a nuclear plant that lies near a seismic fault line 35 miles north of Manhattan.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission concluded that should there be an earthquake in the region; Indian Point could be in danger.

It is, according to the NRC, the nuclear power plant in the U.S. with the highest risk of core damage from an earthquake.

The report has prompted the governor to order an examination of whether Indian Point can withstand a natural disaster.

"This plant in this proximity to New York City was never a good risk, but this is new information we're going to pursue," Governor Cuomo said.

As Attorney General, the governor called for the plant to be closed.

And now, with the plant's license coming up for renewal, and in the wake of the devastation in Japan, there is likely to be an intense debate over the issue.

"Indian Point 3 is among the older reactors. It was built before some modern knowledge, so it's somewhat riskier than some of the current construction," said a physicist.

But a spokesman for Entergy, the company that owns the power plant, counters that Indian Point can withstand a significant earthquake.

According to Entergy officials, the reactors at the site are designed to handle a 6.0 magnitude earthquake.

"That being said we will be part of an industry initiative to look at catastrophic events and the response to those events at the site," the spokesman said.

"We don't know when it can happen, but it can happen," said Won Young Kim, a Seismologist at Columbia University.

In a lab at Columbia University, seismologists monitor earthquakes around the globe.

Scientist Won Young Kim says the plant is located near the Ramapo Fault line, but because the fault line isn't active, he believes a major earthquake in this area is unlikely.

"Not big enough to disturb a facility like Indian Point in your opinion?" asked Eyewitness News.

"Yes," Kim said.

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