April 4, 2012 at 1:43 PM
By Destiny DeJesus
The Bronx is just 24 miles from a major nuclear power plant and Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera wants to know why there isn’t a plan in place to protect the 1.4 million people living in the city’s northernmost borough.
At a press conference in Norwood yesterday, Rivera publicly released her letter requesting state hearings on the emergency evacuation plans of local, state, and federal governments in case of a nuclear meltdown at the Indian Point Energy Center.
Surrounded by kids from the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center as well as regional environmental watchdogs, Rivera said she is unhappy with the 10-mile radius emergency plan that Point Energy Center has in place and argued that it leaves millions of New Yorkers in danger.
“The Bronx is the closest borough in New York City to Indian Point,” Rivera said. “Yet our city has no evacuation plan in place.”
Rivera also spoke about the state’s need to stockpile potassium iodide pills for distribution to residents within a 50-mile radius of Indian Point.
The inexpensive supplement would easily help to reduce panic of New Yorkers and, in the long run, she said it would protect the thyroid gland against radiation poisoning in case of a nuclear accident.
On the one-year anniversary of the nuclear catastrophe in Fukashima, Japan, where they are still dealing with the fallout from reactor meltdowns, Rivera sent out a letter to four legislative committees of the State Assembly. In the letter, Rivera asked for a comprehensive review of the local, state and federal plans for the evacuation.
Rivera repeatedly referred to the Fukashima disaster, pointing out that within five days of the tsunami in Japan, the radiation from the reactor meltdown traveled more than 160 miles.
Irwin Redlener, the director of the Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness, blasted Indian Point’s current plan as entirely inadequate.
“Evacuation planning at Indian Point remains inconsistent with a real understanding of population density, likely area of contamination, human behavior expectations, transportation realities or readiness of host communities,” Redlener said.