Are Nuclear Evacuation Plans a Fantasy? Asks NYT Columnist

By Matthew Harwood


Applebome reports that the study "concluded that the plans were drafted to comply with regulations rather than to create an effective strategy to protect the population, and that they assumed people would comply with government directives rather than do what seemed to be in their own best interests."

Here's how the report summarized its finding on emergency planning around the Indian Point nuclear power plant.

In our report we discuss significant planning inadequacies, expected parental behavior that would compromise school evacuation, difficulties in communications, outdated vulnerability assessment, the use of outdated technologies, lack of first responder confidence in the plan(s), problems caused by spontaneous evacuation, the nature of the road system, the thin public education effort, and how these issues may impact an effective response in a high population area. None of these problems, when considered in isolation, precludes effective response. When considered together, however, it is our conclusion that the current radiological response system and capabilities are not adequate to overcome their combined weight and protect the people from an unacceptable dose of radiation in the event of a release from Indian Point. We believe this is especially true if the release is faster or larger than the typical exercise scenario.

Last Wednesday, Cuomo called for Indian Point to be shut down after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission reported that one of the plant's reactors sits on a fault line and is vulnerable to an earthquake.

Indian Point's owner, Entergy Corp., took out a full-page ad in The New York Times on Monday, assuring the area's residents that the plant can withstand the strongest anticipated earthquake for the area


♦ Photo of Indian Point by Tony the Misfit/Flickr


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