WOODBURY - As the crisis unfolds at damaged nuclear reactors in Japan, a growing number of people on Long Island are wondering if a similar catastrophe could happen here, raising questions about the safety of nearby nuclear plants.
Long Island is surrounded by three nuclear plants: Indian Point in Westchester County, Millstone in Connecticut and Oyster Creek in New Jersey.
Dr. Harold Hastings, a physics professor at Hofstra University, says in the event of a major disaster, the plant that poses the biggest risk to Long Island is Indian Point, whose close proximity could carry potentially harmful amounts of radiation.
However, Hastings says such a scenario is unlikely here because the disaster at Japan's nuclear plant was caused by the tsunami, not the earthquake.
"Indian Point, the closest plant, is 80 feet above sea level, above the Hudson River, and the river simply can't rise that high," he says.
Also, Indian Point was built to withstand a 6.0-magnitude earthquake - a seismic event Hastings says is unheard of in this area.
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