The Hudson Highlands Green Party has been working to close the nuclear reactor at Indian Point 3. The plant was on the Nuclear Regulatory Commissions "watch list" and was cited as one of the most poorly operated plants in the country. It was closed for two years for retooling and retraining of staff and reopened July, 1995. It ran for 55 days. During this short period it was cited for two violations of operating procedure and fined $50,000 by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The public hearing was held in September and by that time the plant was once again closed. It is apparent that the lengthy shutdown has not resolved a situation which has long been acknowledged to be unsatisfactory.
Opposition to the plant is based on several strong points—all of them "green."
We don't need the energy which Indian Point generates: there is already a surplus. Former head of the New York Power Authority David Freeman spoke of New York being "awash" in energy. Deregulation promises to make nuclear power plants even less competitive. It has never been revealed how the cost of the energy generated at Indian Point will be calculated. Will it include the cost of restoring the uranium mines and long term storage of highly radio-active waste?
Nuclear energy is an unforgiving technology in the middle of a densely populated area. The entire metropolitan area of New York City is well within the 50 mile danger zone.
The technology is dated. Nuclear power in this country is in decline and no longer attracts top flight candidates for jobs. One small mistake or a series of errors like those which occurred at Three Mile Island could have catastrophic consequences.
It is not possible to develop a realistic evacuation plan. Given the roads and the amount of traffic involved the plan is not workable. The roads would be grid-locked. The school evacuation plan calls for children in elementary school to be taken to different centers than high school students. Thus families could have siblings in two different places.
There is no way to ethically handle waste which is toxic for thousands of years. The bill currently before Congress (HR1020) which calls for transportation of highly radioactive spent fuel rods to Yucca Mountain is opposed by every major environmental group as unsafe. It would mean trucks traveling on either 9 or 9D to get to I-84 in order to head west to Nevada.
An accident is inevitable. Local firefighters and police would be the first to respond. In addition, citizens of Nevada have made it plain that they do not want this waste in their state.
There is a body of evidence which suggests a link between breast cancer and other immune deficiency diseases to the proximity of a nuclear reactor. Westchester and Long Island have the highest rates of cancer in the nation. This matter requires serious examination as a public health issue.
Many organizing strategies are being tried. Working in coalition with the grassroots Indian Point Project has proven to be one of the most effective. The Hudson Highlands Green Party sponsored a lawyer to talk with a joint meeting of the Greens and the Indian Point Project about legal avenues to pursue in closing the plant. Petitions containing hundreds of signatures have been sent to the governor. Letter writing campaigns have generated a lot of local interest and inquiry from citizens. It may prove possible to work with another local group and help sponsor an anti-nuke bill board.
Finding money to pay for newsletters and stamps to mail them has not been easy. We are raising plants to sell as a fund raiser at Earth Day events. We are planning a benefit, Songs for the Planet, with the help of some wonderful local musicians. We are developing a community calendar for the month of April. Many local groups have been invited to list their events. The calendar will be distributed at events. As part of the commemoration of Chernobyl+10 we will hold a benefit at One Station Plaza, an artists collective in downtown Peekskill. The money will go to a hospital for children in Minsk. We will also host an evening program with Dr. Jay Gould, author of The Enemy Within—The High Cost of Living Near Nuclear Power Plants. On April 27, 1996 the community is invited to join us in a walk from downtown Peekskill to the gates of Indian Point for music and a rally.
For more information about Green Party activity in the Hudson Highlands contact Rob McRoberts at 914-526-4341 or e-mail Marilyn Elie at Elie@Highlands.com.