PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) urged the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to conduct a top-to-bottom review of Indian Point Energy Center’s maritime security in a visit to Peekskill on Monday.
Schumer made the remarks in a speech in light of recent reports that suggest Indian Point may be vulnerable to a waterborne attack.
Currently, there is no requirement for a 24-hour on-duty patrol boat to be stationed near Indian Point, so at times, only a line of warning buoys stand between boaters and the Indian Point facility.
While there are multiple patrol boats that are focused on Indian Point, several potential gaps in security have been revealed by media sources that Schumer says need to be assessed, and then rapidly addressed. Schumer suggested that the U.S. Coast Guard, which is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security, quarterback the effort to provide 24-hour maritime security plan, subsequent to the review of Indian Point’s current security status.
Schumer said that 24-hour security by boat is a reasonable and achievable goal – by drawing on the combined resources of the USCG, New York State, and local law enforcement – and called for federal experts to provide recommendations on the best way to close any gaps in Indian Point’s security.
“Indian Point is a high-value resource, but also a high-value target – we must always be vigilant and gaps in security must be patched up as soon as possible," Schumer said in his remarks. "Waterborne attacks on Indian Point are not out of the question, and I believe our best possible defense against such an attack is around-the-clock patrols along the Indian Point waterfront.”
The Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project completed a report in August 2013, commissioned by the Department of Defense, which finds that an attack on Indian Point could result in serious damage to the plant and large release of radiation.
According to the report, “Nuclear power plants that use adjacent bodies of water for the cooling of essential equipment and nuclear fuel are vulnerable to such [waterborne] attacks;” Indian Point meets both qualifications, as it has two very large spent fuel pools stored on site and in open air.
Recent media reports also found that the security zone is not always monitored by a patrol boat, and often only warning buoys stand in between Hudson River boaters and the Indian Point facility, whose pier extends into the Hudson River.
Schumer argued that an attack on the nuclear facility by water is a possibility that must be planned for, and said that 24-hour patrol is a necessary first step in enforcing the USCG safety and security zone.
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