Entergy, the company that operates the Indian Point nuclear plant, located near the intersection of two earthquake fault lines less than 40 miles north of New York City, recently made a public presentation embellished, astoundingly, with screenshots and quotes from the 2009 hit comedy, The Hangover. Page two of the document ominously quotes the following line by the film’s character Stu Price (played by Ed Helms): “By the way, we’re all gonna die.”
The document, available for download on the Internet at http://bit.ly/kBWAE8, and officially named “Entergy 2011 Analyst Conference,” was used as part of a presentation in late April to energy analysts by Entergy’s CEO, J. Wayne Leonard, at the Roosevelt New Orleans Hotel, according to an article by Darius Dixon and Dan Berman (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/53962.html) in Politico. The apparent motive for the use by Mr. Leonard of the film’s images and quotes is that, for him, the feelings engendered by the company’s depressed stock prices resemble the experience of waking up with a hangover.
The arguments presented in the report in defense of the safety policy at Indian Point (which today will be visited by Gregory Jaczko, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and House members Eliot Engel (D-Bronx) and Nita Lowey (D-Harrison)) are greatly undercut by its wildly inappropriate tone, particularly in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. Some of the “jokes” in the document, taken directly from the raunchy movie’s dialogue, include instructions on the correct pronunciation of “retard” (sic) and the quote “Would you please put some pants on? I feel weird having to ask you twice.” This report is one reason why so many New Yorkers question the seriousness with which Entergy takes its customers’ legitimate fears of a Fukushima-like catastrophe befalling one of the most populous regions in the nation.
“I find Entergy’s report grossly insensitive to the victims and their families in Japan,” said Evan Giller, a spokesperson for Shut Down Indian Point Now (SDIPN)! “The only thing that worries Mr. Leonard is the ‘hangover’ from Entergy’s free-falling stock prices. The fact that a meltdown at Indian Point remains a terrifying possibility doesn’t faze him in the slightest. But then, TEPCO in Japan displayed a similarly arrogant attitude… until Fukushima happened. I wonder will this report reassure NRC Chairman Jaczko and Congresspersons Engel and Lowey?”
Although part of the report claims that a Fukushima couldn’t happen at Indian Point, nowhere does the document acknowledge that the Indian Point complex is built to withstand an earthquake of a magnitude no greater than 6.1 on the Richter scale, whereas the immediate area, according to Columbia University, could suffer a quake nearly 10 times greater (7.0), equivalent to the one that ravaged Haiti last year. The NRC itself has determined that, of all US nuclear plants, Indian Point is at greatest risk of a meltdown due to an earthquake. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) named Indian Point, which contains radioactive material equivalent to 1000 Hiroshima bombs, as the most dangerous nuclear plant in America. And of course, the plant could be subject to meltdown not just from an earthquake, but from terrorist activity (far more probable now after the death of Osama bin Laden), or even a Chernobyl-like freak accident.
The current evacuation plan, even though focusing on an absurdly narrow 10-mile radius of the plant, was judged completely unworkable by a commission appointed by former Governor Pataki. In any real emergency, an evacuation would surely have to involve a 50-mile radius or more, and a Homeland Security newswire has determined that it would be literally impossible to evacuate the 20 million people who live within that radius.
If a nuclear power plant is too dangerous to fail, it is too dangerous to exist. If Indian Point melts down, the “hangover” would be the greatest tragedy in American history!
Shut Down Indian Point Now! (SDIPN!) is a group of activists who have come together for the express purpose of preventing another Fukushima in New York. We stand in solidarity with the people of Japan who have been victimized by TEPCO’s corporate greed. We are demanding an immediate shut down of Indian Point Now: no more studies, no more excuses, no more delays.