1By Legislator Alden H. Wolfe (D- Montebello)
Chairman, Rockland County Legislature

From the moment the Indian Point nuclear power plants went on line, safety issues began to emerge. Malfunctions and faulty parts caused the plants to be closed, and later restarted. As the Hudson Valley population grew and the problems at Indian Point increased, the reality of the potential for a catastrophic disaster became clearer and clearer.
Sadly, the Indian Point facility continues to suffer more failures than ever before. In the last year alone, there have been seven plant shutdowns. At this point, there is undoubtedly only one solution: Indian Point must be shut down immediately.
This week, I stood with other governmental and environmental leaders in Westchester to call for the shutdown of the plant, and to raise awareness about continuing dangerous conditions that exists in the plant.
One of the critical components of a nuclear plant is its cooling capability. Carefully laid metal plates channel cooling water through the reactor at a rate of 250,000 gallons per minute. The water flows through the core of the plant, cooling it and preventing a nuclear meltdown. The plates need to be arranged in such a way to control the amount and speed of the water that flows in the plant. Any deviation from those parameters could create a devastating meltdown endangering hundreds of thousands of lives.
The plates are kept in place by bolts known as “baffle-former assembly bolts.” The Indian Point Unit 2 nuclear reactor has 832 of these bolts, and each one is essential to keeping the metal plates secure. Nationally, roughly 1 – 3 percent of bolts at the average nuclear power plant are broken or missing. At Indian Point, that number is an astounding 27 percent.
Two hundred and twenty seven of the 832 bolts that are the difference between life and death are broken or missing at Indian Point. According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, that is “the largest seen to date at a U.S. reactor.” Shockingly, these failures occurred under the watchful eye of the NRC, which now declares the reactor safe to restart once the bolts are replaced. What other critical safety component will be the next to fail at this aging plant?
As if the threat of loss of life weren’t enough, last month it was estimated that in the event of a nuclear meltdown, it would take 1.5 million workers and as much as $1 trillion – with a T – to decontaminate the affected areas.
Indian Point is a powder keg. Every minute it operates is another risk to all of us, and it is a risk we should no longer allow. The Legislature will continue to work with those committed to closing Indian Point to put an end to this unnecessary gamble with our lives.

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