As Indian Point Seeks Relicensing, NY Officials Call for Better Evacuation Plan

New York lawmakers and environmental officials are calling for a more comprehensive evacuation plan at Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, and they want that plan to be a condition for the plant’s relicensing.

Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, said the current plan is based on a ten-mile evacuation zone, and makes inaccurate predictions about where radiation would spread in the event of a nuclear emergency.

“In the absence of an effective response plan, again including some sort of reasonable evacuation capacity, the plant really does pose a public health risk that we have to pay attention to,” he said, citing the recent nuclear disaster in Japan.

Redlener and other officials are sending a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, calling for hearings on the nuclear power plant’s evacuation plans.

Diane Screnci, a spokeswoman for the NRC, said day-to-day operations, including security and emergency preparedness, are not part of the process for license renewal.

During the relicensing process, the NRC takes into account an environmental impact and safety review, which includes efforts to manage aging equipment, according to Screnci.

"Indian Point is committed along with our partners in government to ensuring an effective emergency response plan and we dedicate significant resources to it," Jerry Nappi, a spokesman for Entergy said in a statement. "Emergency plans are validated and tested through numerous drills and evaluated regularly by federal agencies and exercises include deployment of hundreds of participants across local, state and federal levels along with plant personnel."

Entergy is seeking a 20-year license renewal. The plant’s current licensing expires in 2015.