Critics: 'Independent' Indian Point panel anything but

Outraged Indian Point nuclear power plant opponents let loose on a panel Monday during a safety review hearing.

A panel of 12 self-proclaimed independent experts ? consisting of engineers, lawyers and professors ? met with the public at Cortlandt Colonial Reception Hall. The plant's troubled past of failed emergency siren tests and workers caught sleeping on the job topped the agenda.

One resident also expressed concern about the possibility of the plant emitting cancer-causing agents. "I've lost two lady friends ? one to breast cancer, one to lung cancer," said Judy Allen. "There's a very high cancer rate around Indian Point."

Opponents openly said they believe the safety panel is a sham, since plant operator Entergy appointed the 12 members. They believe it's impossible for the panel to independently review safety at the site.MIT professor and panel co-chair Neil Todreas defended the group, saying no panel member has had previous dealings with Entergy or has been involved with the power plant itself.

Entergy is currently applying for a new 20-year license to operate the nuclear power plant, which was recently closed for 26 days for refueling and maintenance.

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