Bloomberg.com and other news outlets reported yesterday that NY Governor Andrew Cuomo is meeting with the NRC today in Washington DC to discuss the risk of earthquake damage at the Indian Point Nuclear Plant. According to Bloomberg, the Governor’s concern was sparked by an MSNBC.com report that concluded Indian Point is the most likely nuclear plant in the USA to experience core damage and a release of radioactive contamination following an earthquake.
This is a perfect example of how erroneous news reports about nuclear energy never seem to die. Even when such reports are refuted by multiple more qualified sources, politician still react. Anti-nuclear groups are astute at using these flawed reports to support their calls for nuclear plants to shut down. The details of this situation are contained in my letter to the editor of Bloomberg.com responsible for the story. Here’s a copy:
My letter to Mr. Theo Mullen, Editor, Bloomberg.com News on March 22, 2011
Your story “New York, NRC Set to Meet About Indian Point Plant Safety“ that appeared yesterday on Bloomberg.com news missed some important facts that are highly relevant to the issue of safety at the Indian Point nuclear plant.
Concern by Gov. Cuomo and other NY officials over the earthquake risk at Indian Point was heightened when they learned that Indian Point Nuclear Plant is “at the top of the list” for earthquake risk in the USA. The source of their heightened concern was a poorly researched report that first surfaced in this article by MSNBC.com: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42103936/ns/world_news-asiapacific/. This erroneous report was spread quickly by countless news organizations and anti-nuclear groups.
The story by MSNBC.com reporter Bill Dedman was fundamentally flawed; he misused and mischaracterized NRC data. In addition, his article contained many gross inaccuracies. In fact, the NRC, in a very uncharacteristically blunt manner, refuted Dedman’s inappropriate use of their data as was reported here:
In summary, Gov. Cuomo’s concerns over earthquake risks at Indian Point are misplaced, and are the result of sloppy reporting and an overt attempt to sensationalize the risks.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this story.
Producer, This Week in Nuclear