Skip to comments.N.Y. nuke plant drill includes plane crash [Indian Point]
Posted on 06/09/2004 12:26:05 PM PDT by LurkedLongEnough
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- For the first time, a fake terrorist attack was included in a drill of emergency plans at a nuclear power plant near New York City, with crews grappling with a pretend crash of a 767.
Tuesday's fake crash set off an ever-worsening cascade of simulated events for Indian Point plant operators and emergency responders. By the time the drill ended, a containment building was portrayed as filling with radioactive steam and portions of surrounding counties had been "evacuated" and residents advised to swallow anti-radiation pills. The actual residents, however, had no part in the drill.
Plant owner Entergy Nuclear Northeast and federal regulators have been criticized for not taking terror into account in emergency planning since the World Trade Center attack, 40 miles to the south in lower Manhattan. At the site are the mothballed Indian Point 1 plant and the active Indian Point 2 and 3 plants.
The critics were not assuaged by Tuesday's drill. The scenario did not include a simulated release of radiation into the atmosphere - an omission that "speaks to the farcical nature of this exercise," said Kyle Rabin, of Riverkeeper, one of the organizations in the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition.
"We want to know if the public can be protected from a release of radiation," he said.
He also criticized as "unbelievable" the announcement that there were no traffic control problems during the simulated evacuations.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will evaluate the exercise at a public meeting on Thursday.
The drill began with word that a group of men had been stopped on a Connecticut highway in a car laden with weapons and documents pointing to an attack on Indian Point. Then the North American Aerospace Defense Command alerted the NRC that a 767 cargo jet seemed to be heading for Indian Point.
The "crash" wiped out offsite power to the reactor as it was being shut down. Backup generators failed and a leak of reactor coolant raised the specter of a meltdown.
A fake general emergency was declared, and Westchester County ordered the evacuation and advised those who have potassium iodide to "swallow one dose now." Potassium iodide is meant to inhibit the effect of radiation on the human thyroid.
The scenario of the crash included no damage to the reactor's concrete containment building. Brian Holian, of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said recent studies showed "most plane crashes into containment buildings would not result in significant releases of radiation."
Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano, who has called for a shutdown of the Indian Point plants, took part in the drill but "still feels the evacuation wouldn't work in a fast-breaking scenario of radiation escaping," said his chief adviser, Susan Tolchin.
A group of about 30 protesters, some in make-believe moon suits, were kept behind barricades outside the airport conference room where reporters - real ones and simulated ones - received intermittent briefings on the drill. One demonstrator carried a sign that said, "Westchester's A-Glow, Where Do We Go?"
Out of curiosity, what ever became of, and who paid/is paying for that plant that Mario the Pious shut down?
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