PBS Documentary Explores Indian Point Relicensing

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Indian Point Nuclear Power Plants is the subject of a PBS documentary.
Indian Point Nuclear Power Plants is the subject of a PBS documentary. Photo Credit: Art Cusano

CORTLANDT, N.Y. – A PBS Frontline documentary set to air Tuesday night explores the contentious relicensing of the Indian Point Power Plants in Buchanan.

The documentary, “Nuclear Aftershocks,” discusses the impact of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown on public opinion toward nuclear power, as well as expert opinion on the economic and environmental consequences of nuclear power.

“The reality is, Indian Point’s technology is not cutting edge, it’s old,” correspondent Miles O’Brien says in the documentary. The documentary shows scenes of the Village of Buchanan, Mayor Sean Murray and inside Indian Point Nuclear Power Plants, discussing the relicensing of the 40-year-old plants.

The program delves into the implications of the Fukushima event for U.S. nuclear safety and questions whether any of the nation’s 104 reactors could suffer a Fukushima-type accident. O’Brien travels to three continents, gauging both German and Japanese public opinion after the meltdown. Only six of Japan’s 54 reactors are still being used and Germany has committed to closing all of its 17 reactors by 2022.

Expert opinions in the documentary are divergent on whether nuclear power is the answer to carbon-free electricity generation, or if the Fukushima event writes the final chapter on nuclear power.

O’Brien is critical of measures taken to ensure safety in Westchester, driving the evacuation route during rush hour traffic.

“It’s hard to imagine it standing the test of a real emergency,” he said.

Although crews spent two days at the plants in Buchanan, Indian Point spokesperson Jerry Nappi said he is unable to comment on the documentary until he’s seen the final version.

O’Brien shares writing credit of the documentary with John Palfreman, the producer and director of the “Nuclear Aftershocks.” The co-producer is Kate McMahon.

The documentary airs on PBS at 10 p.m. Tuesday night and will be available through PBS’ website after the broadcast.

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Comments (7)

I’m not a scientist or engineer, just been reading books, researching and talking with scientists and engineers about nuclear power. The most crucial “FACT” we have to “learn” about the media is their lack of TRUTH. A half-truth is a whole lie! An unspoken fact is a half-truth. This is what the media has brought us. If you ask the man on the street to respond to the word nuclear, the reply is BOMB, radiation, death. It has been 60 years since we used a nuclear bomb as a weapon of war. The media has never allowed the public to respond, I’ve had 40 wonderful years of electricity from nuclear energy. In “FACT” radiation has saved more people from death than any other toxic medication.

The TRUTH is the only way that the nuclear industry can defend itself is to attack media misrepresentation with the facts of truth. Some of us, “just grassroots people” are ready to do this but in most cases, the scientists and engineers are so disgusted with the media half-truths they will not “waste” their time educating them or bureaucrats. This is the BATTLE and when we play their game but on the side of truth, they won’t print our op-eds.

What did we do for power when the two reactors were down a few summers back? I don't remember any rolling blackouts or power outages.

The site seems like an interesting location choice for a nuclear power plant with 40+ year old technology and somewhere around 17 million people in a 50 mile radius. Is there any other nuclear power plant in the United States with such a concentration of people in that vicinity?

I think you're leaving out the fact that The Fukishima plant was much newer, more modern and supposedly less prone to any natural disasters. It was meant have 4 "fail safe" systems. all of which, completely and catastrophically failed... also, Indian point is built directly on a semi active fault line, and it's close proximity to one of the most populous areas in the entire world was a boondoggle to begin with, it should have never been built there

housemusic3: To compare the Japan nuclear disaster to Indian Point is also misguided. The damage done to the reactors in Japan was caused by a TSUNAMI. That's what cased the meltdown. The tsunami destroyed the cooling pumps. If they had built a sea wall like they were supposed to do, then this might of have happened. It is impossible for a tsunami to happen in the Hudson river.
Your earlier post states " close it". Well where do we get the electricity that Indian Point produces if it is closed? No one seems to have the answer, maybe you do.

Close it.

I will bet that it will be one sided. Look at who is involved, PBS.

by "one sided" i guess you meant "tell us the reality of living near a nuclear plant and it's dangers" unless of course you think there are no dangers, in which case you are just a misguided fool