Second fault line discovered under Indian Point

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The discovery of a second earthquake zone near the Indian Point nuclear power plant has some residents shaking their heads as the plant is scheduled to renew its contract.

Scientists at Columbia University say the new fault line they discovered runs from Stamford, Conn. to Peekskill, landing less than a mile north of the plant. The new zone intersects the already known Ramapo fault line.

The plant sits on top of the intersection of the two, scientists say. Some residents say worrying is futile because there?s nothing anyone can do about it. Others say they see more danger in the situation, but because the plant was already built in a known earthquake zone, they?re not terribly surprised about the discovery of a second one.

"We believe now is a particularly appropriate time for this knowledge to be considered," says John Armbruster, a seismologist with Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

According to Armbruster, an author of the earthquake study, the release of the recent findings and the fact that Indian Point owner Entergy is waiting to see if it will get license renewal from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is not a complete coincidence.

Armbruster says the new zone has to be studied more. He says the design of Indian Point should be tested to see if it can withstand an earthquake.

"There is a significant risk from earthquakes in the NYC area and we question if Indian Point is fully ready for those risks and we ask that there be a review of that," he says.

Armbruster worries that the NRC is not going to consider the new earthquake-zone findings in the license-renewal process. "As I've heard it phrased, the re-licensing is only going to consider factors relating to aging of the nuclear plant," he says.

Earthquakes occur in the area about every 100 years, and the last one was in 1884. Entergy says the plant is designed to meet federal safety requirements regarding earthquakes. Calls to Entergy were not returned.

Friday, Aug. 22Residents react to fault line discovery

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