After a long journey, filled with a lot of new information, not only about Indian Point Energy Center but also about nuclear power in general, Tucker and I have completed a cut of our documentary for the class. This cut is only five minutes long and our work is certainly not over. We have hours of information about Indian Point and the nuclear power process from a variety of experts including Dr. Irwin Redlener director of Columbia’s Center for Natural Disaster Preparedness, Arthur Ginsberg, an ex-engineer at Indian Point, and Physician’s for Social Responsibility board member Alfred Meyer. We would like to continue to work on building this documentary and adjusting it to fit the issue as the debate evolves. The issue of Indian Point remains to be a current issue locally and the debate over nuclear power as a resource remains contested nationally and globally.
Issues We Researched:
Some of the most interesting, and unexpected issues we learned about during our research and interview processes were
• The Algonquian Pipeline and the issues with its expansion so close to Indian Point.
• The effects of thermal-pollution on surrounding aquatic environments.
• In depth knowledge about the inner workings of nuclear power plants, including how they have evolved over time and the various safeguards installed.
• The history of Indian Point and the activist movement against it.
• Nuclear Power as compared to other forms of harnessing energy such as solar power, oil, and natural gas.
Arthur Ginsberg, an ex employee of Indian Point, drew Tucker and me a diagram of the closed circuits within a nuclear power point.
Tucker and I went to Peekskill to see Indian Point’s proximity to the Hudson river for ourselves. Tucker couldn’t resist the selfie.
We saw the power plant from pretty close up, our ability to reach the plant so easily sparked our curiosity about the possibility about Indian Point as a possible terrorist target.
Tucker attended and participated in a rally by the activist group SAPE (Stop Algonquian Pipeline Expansion) and noticed the very small amount of young individuals protesting.
Through our research, in particular our interview with Alfred Meyer, we discovered that Indian Point rests upon not one but two (Stamford-Peekskill and Ramapo) fault lines.
Initially Tucker and I were inspired to do our final project on the Indian Point Energy Center (Nuclear Power Plant) when Alfred Meyer came in to discuss the issue with our class. The more research we did on the power plant the more interested (and upset) Tucker and I became about the issue. After our interview with Alfred, Tucker and I were led to some interesting sources including the group SAPE. Through this exposure to activist groups we realized that we were not the only ones who were upset by this issue. But it would’ve been too easy to round up these activists and make a documentary arguing against Indian Point with their semi-credible knowledge.
So we looked for sources who could help us understand the multi-faceted debate surrounding Indian Point. I contacted several individuals from both the NYU Langone Medical Center and the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. One source who was especially helpful in steering me in the right direction was Lorcan Folan, an engineer at Tandon who put me in touch with Dr. Redlener and Arthur Ginsberg. Dr. Redlener, director for Colombia’s Center for Natural Disaster Preparedness, gave me great insight as to how a problem at Indian Point could affect the entire surrounding community and coastal areas. Arthur Ginsberg was a very essential source as he spent 36 years of his life working for Indian Point in various positions from managing the control center to acting as one of the head engineers. He told Tucker and I about some of the inner workings of the plant such as their emergency plans and the training required to work at Indian Point. He also provided a counter-view that was in favor of the re-licensing of Indian Point and the continued use of nuclear power.
Tucker and I learned an incredible amount on this journey. But we do not plan to end the project here.
Arthur Ginsberg has discussed with us the possibility of visiting the facilities at Indian Point Energy Center, and we intend to take him up on this offer. We have an ample amount of footage to continue editing and we intend to stay informed on the still developing issues. We would like to eventually have a cut to send to film festivals and to organizations that could use our film to educate and empower others.
We hope that you join us in saying no to extractive industries and fighting for a cleaner, safer energy future!
This coming Tuesday Gary Shaw will be our final guest of the semester and will speak after presentations.
Mr. Shaw is a data analyst and Senior VP at an independent Consumer Marketing Research Corporation.
He is a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science and attended the City University of New York. He has been involved in the movement to close Indian Point since a steam pipe rupture and radioactive steam and water releases at Indian Point 2 in February 2000.
He is a member of the Leadership Council of the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition (IPSEC).
Gary was the lead writer of the 20-minute documentary, Indian Point – Nowhere to Run which received a Silver Award at the Houston Film Festival in 2003.
Gary has addressed the Environmental Committee of the New York City Council on two occasions and has met with former NRC Chairman, Dr. Allison Macfarlane and the current Chairman Stephen Burns about the relationship between NRC and IPSEC, and specific Indian Point issues.
Gary has also been awarded the Wespac Peace and Justice Award for his work on the Indian Point issue.
Georgia and I have made excellent progress on our doc! We visited Peekskill, NY a town which overlooks Indian Point Power Plant. The walkway along the Hudson was quite beautiful, though the nuclear plant looming right over it was quite ominous. Here are some behind the scene pictures from our journey:
Looking for Tritium
Additionally we have officially secured the rights to use the Scott Waldman interview in my last post titled “5 Years After Fukushima, How vulnerable is Indian Point?”
Georgia is also in the process of arranging several interviews. One of the individuals we are speaking with and hoping to record an interview with is Arthur Ginsberg who worked for Indian Point power plant for several years.
We are also arranging an interview with Dr. Irwin Redlener the director of Columbia’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness and Dr. David Brenner, who directs Columbia’s Center for Radiological Research.
We are also hoping to get an activist perspective and someone who is currently employed by Indian Point.
After seeing the phenomenal documentary Racing Extinction, and hearing George Pakenham speak and screen his film “Idle Threat”, I began looking at my own role in art activism. I’m in film school to tell the stories I’m most interested in; this means climate change should be a theme in my work. I reflected on all of my previous blog posts to get inspiration for a short film I could make in my spare time. In the end I chose to further explore my blog post “Maybe Milk Isn’t So Healthy” through stop motion photography. As I brainstormed ideas, I thought about my favorite scenery in and around New York. I immediately thought of Rockaway Beach, where I spend many of my summer days, and Bear Mountain, where I go to escape the city and work up a sweat hiking. I thought it would be interesting to juxtapose toxins and contaminates with the beauty of nature. Clearly I wouldn’t be using real nuclear waste in my film, so I thought Holi powder would be an interesting visual stand-in for toxins. I began shooting stills on Rockaway Beach and Bear Mountain with these powders.
I focused on hands at first to play with the concept of a foreign, toxic substance in direct contact with the human body. I went on to take photographs of faces and entire bodies covered in these saturated hues.
I’m still working on finishing and uploading my film online. I want to make it easily accessible to spread awareness about the harm of exposure to nuclear toxins. As I mentioned in my blog post “Maybe Milk Isn’t So Healthy,” scientists think that people who were children during the period of atomic bomb testing (1940s-1960s) are at higher risk for developing thyroid cancer (National Cancer Institute).
This issue extends beyond the 1960s, because nuclear power is still widely used all over the world, and nuclear weapons are being manufactured by powerful governments. Once nuclear energy is created, we are left to deal with the disposal of the waste. There is no proven way of disposing of this waste without eventually harming living organisms. So, if we don’t have a solution to deal with this toxic waste, why are we relying on nuclear energy for our power and nuclear weapons for defense?
Please look out for next blog post, in which I will link my short experimental documentary! I would really appreciate if you shared my film so it can gain some attention before Earth Day on April 22nd!
Yesterday, on April 3rd I attended a rally in Peekskill, NY for SAPE2016. The site of the rally was the Peekskill Riverfront Green, which offers excellent views of the Hudson River, and Indian Point Energy Center. There were blistering winds and cold temperatures; however, there was a fairly large turnout. My contact at the event was Gary Shaw and his wife Jeanne (pictured below). They have been actively vocal against Indian point for sometime now.
This rally is directly important to our documentary, because the expansion of Algonquin Pipeline would call for a high-pressure gas pipeline to pass within 105ft of the control room of Indian Point Energy Center. A site that already has two fault lines crossing its property. As I have stated before, the Indian Point facility has already been dealing with the consequences of infrastructure issues for some time now. It is like adding insult to injury to increase the risk of a major catastrophe by having this pipeline built so close to the reactors at indian point.
The rally had many great speakers including Dr. Courtney Williams and Paul Blanch (featured in the video bellow) and the Mayor of Peekskill, who vowed to “not take a even a dime” from energy companies for his town, unlike many of the other surrounding towns. The rally was a great experience, and really opened my eyes to the community of people who are as outraged as I am if not more so about Indian Point and the growing danger it poses.
Moving forward, Georgia and I are continuing to organize interviews with experts and activists as well as visiting Indian Point in the upcoming weeks.
PLEASE WATCH this Video from The Guardian featuring Dr. Williams and Mr. Blanch, to learn more about SAPE2016 and the dangers of Indian point.
Hey class! We have interviewed Alfred Meyer and we have been reaching out to some environmental health experts at NYU Langone Medical Center who are experts on how radioactivity affects the human body. We are hard at work trying to arrange some kind of interview with an Entergy employee and gain access to film at Indian Point. In addition to that, we are looking into speaking with more activists who are passionate on the subject matter, and Indian Point particularly.
All the best,
Tucker and Georgia