By Julie Shapiro
LOWER MANHATTAN — The Indian Point nuclear power plant 35 miles from New York City poses a potential threat and must undergo an independent review in the wake of the recent nuclear disaster in Japan, downtown residents said this week.
The board unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday night calling for a study of the plant's safety and security. The board also asked for an immediate evacuation plan that includes New York City, so the city is prepared in the event of a meltdown.
"As the only neighborhood in the country to have been hit twice by terrorists, we should take a strong stance on Indian Point," said Julie Menin, chairwoman of Community Board 1. "You have to immediately do an independent analysis."
The Westchester County nuclear plant has come under increasing scrutiny following Japan's recent earthquake and ensuing nuclear crisis.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has said for years that Indian Point ought to close, met with officials from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Tuesday and announced that the commission would accelerate a thorough review of the plant.
On 9/11, the hijacked planes flew over Indian Point before slamming into the World Trade Center. One of the pilots had considered attacking a nuclear facility instead, likely Indian Point, according to the 9/11 Commission's report.
Radiation exposure from the nuclear plant could cause tens of thousands of deaths, according to a study by the environmental group Riverkeeper.
The plant, which supplies about 30 percent of the city's electricity, also sits near a fault line, Menin said.
"This plant is so close to New York," said John Fratta, a CB1 member, at Tuesday night's meeting. "This is a disaster waiting to happen."
The licenses for the plant's nuclear reactors are up for renewal in 2013 and 2015.
A spokesman for the power plant, which is owned by Entergy, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Officials at the plant have said they look forward to additional public review, to help people see that the plant is safe.