Schumer: Indian Point nuke plant needs constant watch

November 25, 2013 By Jim Fitzgerald Associated Press
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PEEKSKILL, N.Y.— Patrol boats should prowl the Hudson River 24 hours a day behind the Indian Point nuclear power plant in the New York City suburbs, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said Monday.

The New York Democrat called on the Coast Guard, as part of Homeland Security, to lead an effort to gather resources from various government agencies.

“You don’t need a big destroyer or a big frigate,” he said, suggesting police boats from surrounding counties could pitch in. “We don’t think it would cost very much.”

“I believe our best possible defense against any attack is around-the-clock patrols along the waterfront,” Schumer said. “We should have a boat 24/7 in the security zone to make sure no one untoward goes there.”

Schumer said he was reacting to a report by the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project at the University of Texas, which in August found none of the commercial nuclear power reactors in the country to be safe from “a maximum credible terrorist attack.” It also found that several power plants including Indian Point are vulnerable to attack by ship.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission would not detail plant security. But it said that at any plant, when a patrol boat isn’t around, “there are other security measures in place to detect an individual or group seeking to enter the plant grounds from that direction.”

Jerry Nappi, a spokesman for plant owner Entergy Nuclear, said Indian Point conducts “extremely realistic drills” that deal with water-borne threats and that riverfront security has passed NRC standards.

Schumer said the exiting boat patrol is intermittent and when there’s no boat, only warning buoys stand between boaters and the plant 35 miles from Manhattan.

“No terrorist is going to call up and ask, ‘Can we have permission to go past the buoys?'” the senator said. “You need someone there all the time.”

A call to the Coast Guard was not immediately returned.

Indian Point has encountered heavy opposition since the 9/11 attacks, when one of the hijacked airliners flew right over the plant. Entergy has applied for new 20-year licenses for the plants; New York state opposes them.

Schumer has not called for closing the plant.

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