"From Japan, Bearing Witness in Debate Over Indian Point"

As the anniversary of the 2011 Japanese nuclear power plant disaster nears, the question is asked: would a disaster at Indian Point nuclear power station -- 38 miles north of New York City -- be any less likely? Any less catastrophic? Are plans for preventing or responding to a catastrophe any less realistic?

"Sunday will be the first anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that struck hardest in Japan, and Mr. [Noriyuki] Kitajima is among those who have brought to New York’s commemorations their direct witness of the unexpected, the statistically improbable, the totally far-fetched. 'I came to convey the reality,' Kazuhiko Amano, a relief worker in Fukushima, said Monday night in a panel discussion at Manhattanville College that was organized by Clearwater, the Hudson River advocacy organization. The group is opposed to the renewal of the license for the Indian Point nuclear power plant, about 30 miles north of New York City, and is invoking the Japanese catastrophe.

Mr. Amano, who worked for the Fukushima prefecture, said rigorous annual emergency drills in Fukushima proved to be meaningless. 'They had no connection to reality,' he said.

Phones, whether land lines, mobile or satellite, were knocked out, he said. The Internet was down. Radio stations could not broadcast. Rumors ran wild. Traffic crawled. Drivers believed they would die. Pets and farm animals were abandoned. In refugee centers, 2,500 people were separated by cardboard walls. "

Jim Dwyer reports for the New York Times March 6, 2012.

SEE ALSO:

"Surviving Without Indian Point: Is It Doable?" (Green/NYT)

"Indian Point Gets NRC's Top Safety Rating For 2011" (Journal News)

"Nuclear Fallout Map Arrives At The Anniversary Of Fukushima Disaster" (Gothamist)

Thursday, March 8, 2012