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PBS Documentary Explores Indian Point Relicensing

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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