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Japanese Nuclear Fears Echoed Close to Home, Others Unconcerned

Your neighbors speak out about their thoughts on Indian Point in the wake of the Japanese disaster.

Could it happen here?

As Japan struggles to contain an unfolding nuclear disaster and a plume of radiation begins a slow waft toward California, Indian Point is on many people's minds.

"It's too close to a major metropolitan area and should be shut down," said Bob Zawacki of Briarcliff Manor on Thursday.

Mary Jones of Hawthorne said she, too, was concerned: "It makes me nervous, especially in light of what's happening in Japan. "

At the Unisex Palace hair salon in the Cortlandt Town Center the conversation also revolved around what happened in Japan and the safety and logic of Indian Point, the Entergy-owned set of reactors in Buchanan.

Some agreed that Indian Point should not remain open, but not all — one woman felt it is good for the community and safe. 

"Indian Point should be kept open because it keeps jobs, keeps taxes down, a lot of the money goes to the schools. I don't think we will ever have an earthquake even though it is on a fault. If you don't like it, don't live there," said Marianne Martin of Yorktown. 

"In Japan, it is horrifying. They were prepared, but weren't prepared for anything that big. They are doing better than we would. But it is not over yet there."

Elsewhere, residents were also struggling with how to process the events in Japan.

Cassandra L. Barr, a 25-year-old from Yorktown, said she wasn't too concerned because New York doesn't suffer earthquakes as severe or as frequent as Japan.

"But," she continued, "after these recent events I think Indian Point should verify that their reactors are structurally sound and do any maintenance work required to prevent any kind of future meltdown."  

Also 25, Laura DePaolo Reilly of Yorktown said the situation in Japan — where on Thursday desperate missions tried to cool the reactor — is certainly making her more fearful.

"We've now seen the damage something like this can do," she said. "It makes me wonder, do we have a plan of action should something like Japan ever happens here?"

Leaving the Eveready Diner in Southeast around 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Bill Cebek of Danbury, 53, said he was actually comfortable playing the odds.

"You've got to think of this, that was a 9.0 quake, what's the odds of something like that happening here? ... The reason why these things are going like that because you had the 9.0 quake and the tsunami so you've got to put all these factors together."

Paul Steiniger, 47, of the Bronx, an operator with Metro-North, had this to say about Indian Point: "Thing's been sitting there for years, nobody has said boo about it. I work in Grand Central Station, so the odds of someone blowing themselves up there are a lot more prevalent than that, but I'm not worried about it."

He laughed a bit, incorporating the kind of gallows humor for which New Yorkers are famous.

"If that's my time to get blown up, I get blown up. What am I going to do about it?"

Kathleen Reilly contributed to this report. 

Sunny Armer March 17, 2011 at 07:35 PM
A 2008 study found that a magnitude 6 earthquake is due via the Ramapo Fault Zone plus an additional fault zone extending to just one mile from the Indian Point plant. In Japan pools holding spent fuel rods pose more danger. Indian Point has spent fuel rods in storage pools. The rods can catch fire and spread radioactive materials far and wide. For such an event, a 1997 study in Long Island estimated 100 quick deaths would occur within a range of 500 miles and 138,000 eventual deaths and that over 2,170 miles would be contaminated. Everyone reading this, and everyone in New York City, everyone within 2,000 miles of Indian Point would not only have to attempt to evacuate, but would never be able to return. No one sells insurance for this situation. If spent fuel is a few months old, cesium 137 would take about two centuries to diminish its levels of radioactivity. Cesium 137 still contaminates much land in Ukraine around the Chernobyl reactor, which exploded 20 years ago.
Tod Newman March 21, 2011 at 02:59 PM
Is this a secret agenda to get it closed down so they can turn it into a nuclear waste storage facility?? I think so...
Earl May 01, 2011 at 03:38 PM
2170 miles? That statement is ridiculous- as you stated the Chernobyl reactor exploded, not a loss of coolant in storage pools which is it? 138,000 deaths? estimated 4000 from chernobyl- please fight your point of view with facts not fiction.
Dan Seidel May 01, 2011 at 06:41 PM
OHHH, dudes and dudettes: Fukushima fallout is here NOW!!! go read: blog.alexanderhiggins.com and other assorted charts and graphs and readings and analysis - my geiger counter is on backorder for 2 months. let's see what is served up in Shoprite and Stop & Shop . I know the milk ain't safe anymore.

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