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INDIAN POINT takes an unblinking look at the dramatic debate over nuclear power by going inside the aging plant that looms just 35 miles from New York City. With over 50 million people living in close proximity to the facility, it has stoked a great deal of controversy in the surrounding community, including a vocal anti-nuclear contingent concerned that the kind of disaster that happened at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant could happen here. At the same time, its continued operation has the support of the plant’s operators and the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) as they campaign to relicense Indian Point for another 20 years of operation.
INDIAN POINT presents a complex story through the people who are most invested in the nuclear industry—the owners of the plant, the workers at the plant and the activists who want to shut it down. The film begins inside Indian Point with Brian Vangor, senior control room operator and 35-year veteran who says his job is making sure the plant’s workers “get through their shifts unscathed.” We hear from Marilyn Elie, a leader of the anti-Indian Point group IPSEC and her husband Roger Witherspoon, an environmental journalist. We also meet attorney Phillip Musegaas from Riverkeeper in New York who reveals what few people understand—the enormous damage the plant causes to the water that surrounds it.
As nuclear disaster struck in Japan, Gregory Jaczko, then Chairman of the NRC, was shaken by the news. INDIAN POINT follows Jaczko to Fukushima as he attempts to understand the tragedy no one in his field thought possible.
The debate at the center of INDIAN POINT is more timely now than ever. In February of 2016, news broke that the groundwater below Indian Point had been contaminated with radioactive material, prompting a state investigation.
Filmmaker Ivy Meeropol had unprecedented access to the plant at the center of the most contentious relicensing process in the history of the industry. In the brewing fight for clean energy, INDIAN POINT presents a nuanced argument about the issues surrounding nuclear energy and offers a startling reality check for our uncertain nuclear future.