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Cuomo calls for new review of Indian Point power plant

Undated file photo of the Indian Point Nuclear

Undated file photo of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant in Buchanan, New York. Credit: Getty Images

In the wake of the nuclear crisis in Japan, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday called for a fresh review of safety at the Indian Point power plant, which sits near earthquake faults.

“I’ve had concerns about Indian Point for a long time," Cuomo said of the twin reactors in Buchanan, 35 miles north of New York City. "I understand the power and the benefit, but I also understand the risk. And this plant in this proximity to New York City was never a good risk.”

When Cuomo was attorney general, he advocated against renewing the licenses for the reactors, which expire in 2013 and 2015 and must be approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He did not offer specifics on how a review would work.

Using NRC data, MSNBC reported Wednesday that Indian Point is most suspectible to quake damage.

Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi said the reactors are designed to handle a 6.0 earthquake.

“Our ability to withstand a seismic event far exceeds any that have been recorded in the region,” he said. “The quake that struck Japan had 1,000 times more destructive force than the worst-predicted earthquake in this area.”

A 2008 study from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory identified possible dangers from a network of subtle faults around Indian Point, including an active area that runs just a mile north of it.

Charles Merguerian, chairman and professor of geology at Hofstra University and principal of Duke Geological Laboratory in Westbury, called Indian Point a potential "ticking time bomb."

"The worst case scenario is the Ramapo Fault moving, which projects right into the vicinity of Indian Point nuclear reactor,” he said.

An NRC spokeswoman said “U.S. reactors are capable of withstanding the strongest earthquake their sites could experience.”

(With Rolando Pujol)

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