for Indian Point, anyway.
The explosion in the transformer yard across the street from the facility has caused IPs safety rating to be degraded from green to white. Not to mention it scared the crap out of a lot of people already on edge about Indian Point's safety.
Local Congressman John Hall, Westchester's County Executive Andy Spano and a host of other politicians renew their calls for independent safety assessments and for outright closure of the plant.
Noreen O'Donnell writes a common-sense piece in the Journal News, articulating the gut-level fear felt by most of the people who live in the shadow of that facility.
Leaks, shutdowns, terrorism, and now explosions. Scary stuff when you're talking nuke plant.
But we must realize that either choice - shutting down, or allowing re-licensing of IP - is not to be made lightly. A thousand good jobs, megawatts that would need replacing, huge impact on the local economy - these are all huge considerations. While the dangers of radioactivity weigh in as well.
So here's what I'm effectively being asked to decide. Would I prefer cheap electricity from a life-threatening plant that could be minutes away from melting down? Or spiked unemployment, loss of millions of dollars in the local economy and a drastically higher electric bill - but I'm alive?
I'm a regular joe citizen of this area, I've lived my whole life within Indian Point's shadow, and that's the choice I'm being asked to make. And I do not know a thing about what distinguishes a safe nuclear facility from a dangerous one. But I still have to choose based on what little comprehensible information I have available to me.
Entergy and ren ask me to trust the tireless, wholesome, well intentioned scientists of Entergy and the NRC, the benevolent fire-keeping sorcerer-owners of Gaia's fire.
Riverkeeper and my local leaders call them dangerous, incompetent, venal liars who will let everyone rot so they can become ever richer.
So I sit here worrying about my choices, as cries are raised for an independent review of the plant.
It's absolutely true that nobody trusts the NRC, and on the other side, nobody who supports the plant will trust a study conducted by a team of Indian Point assassins.
And there's the more disturbing question: why does Entergy oppose an independent review of the facility? If there's nothing to hide, what are they hiding?
So here's what I think we should do. call on our government - and Entergy - to remove the politics from the equation, and let us take a real look at what's hot in Buchanan.
Hire a FOREIGN organization with NO vested interest in the outcome. Give them full authority to conduct a thorough and thoroughly independent study. Bring in scientists from another nuclear country like France, Germany or Norway to conduct this independent assessment, and make the conclusions a matter of public record. Keep it honest by making it contractual that none of the participants can work for Entergy or a related company at any time in the future. And if that is not honored, allow for severe, multi-million dollar fines. This shouldn't be much of an issue for say a German engineer. There's plenty of work for them in their own countries.
We are not capable of doing this on our own. IP can't get a fair trial in a local court, so let's change the venue, or at least the place the jury comes from.
Does anybody have any compelling reason why this is a bad idea?
If so, I'd love to hear it, and I'm sure the two or three other readers of this obscure message board would as well.
John Hall will be holding a town meeting tomorrow evening at 7pm (Monday, April 9th) at the Howland Cultural Center on Main Street in Beacon. The subject will be - you guessed it - energy. I wonder if Vincent Ferro will be there. Just in case, I'll bring the "Excommunicate Rudy" signs - in case he forgot his.