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The end of the nuclear age – foreshadowed as Indian Point nuclear station leaks radioactivity

Indian Point Leak Foreshadows the End of the Nuclear Age, Fortune by  David Z. Morris @davidzmorris
 FEBRUARY 28, 2016, New York could be the next Fukushima as world governments roll back nuclear power.

The Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York State is leaking radioactive contaminant into nearby groundwater, and despite plant operator Entergy’s  ELA 0.08%  assurances that the leak has “no health or safety consequences,” Governor Andrew Cuomo called earlier this month for a full investigation by state environment and health officials.

The latest revelations add to a mounting list of recent accidents and problems at Indian Point, and Cuomo’s hard stance is nothing new, either. As of November of last year, Cuomo’s office actively opposed the continuing operation of Indian Point.


The plant’s problems are not isolated—leaks have been found at as many as 75% of U.S. nuclear plants. And closing Indian Point would put New York, and the U.S., in line with a sharp global move away from nuclear power following 2011’s meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daichi reactor. Japan shut down all of its nuclear plants after the disaster, and only began tentatively restarting a handful in 2015.

Countries including France and Germany have moved to similar phase-outs, with Germany in 2011 pledging to phase out all nuclear power by 2022. Austria and Spain have stopped all construction on new nuclear plants. The U.S. had not constructed a new nuclear power plant in nearly twenty years when, in October of 2015, a plant in Tennessee was given the go-ahead.

Nuclear plants represent huge threats to nearby areas, though the risk of a disaster at any one plant is small. While Stanford researchers have found that Fukushima’s fallout may directly cause only about 300 deaths worldwide, estimates of economic losses range from $250-$500 billion, stemming largely from the removal of 159,128 people from a zone the size of Connecticut—land which will be uninhabitable for centuries.

Fukushima prefecture had a population just short of two million at the time of the disaster. Indian Point sits just 25 miles north of New York City’s 8.5 million inhabitants, as well as real estate many times more valuable than that in northern Japan. During the Fukushima meltdown, the Japanese government established a 20 kilometer (12 mile) evacuation zone around the reactor—but the U.S. embassy recommended that Americans leave areas within 50 miles.

That suggests that a meltdown at Indian Point could lead to the evacuation of New York City. In addition to profound human costs, the immediate economic damage would run into many trillions of dollars. And it is no exaggeration to say that a threat to New York City is a threat to the entire U.S. economy, which it plays a key role in organizing…….

February 29, 2016 - Posted by | incidents, safety, USA

1 Comment »

  1. They all leak. Thanks

    Comment by albert | March 3, 2016 | Reply

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