Protesters try to shut down the 40-plus-year-old nuclear plant near New York City.
In her first feature doc since examining the espionage case against her grandparents, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg (in Heir to an Execution), Ivy Meeropol looks at a still-unfolding piece of history, the battle over the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York state.
Situated just 35 miles north of New York City on the Hudson River, the plant is within 50 miles of six percent of the U.S. population. So it was already of great interest to those wary of nuclear dangers before the 2011 tragedy at Fukushima. Starting her film after that incident, Meeropol sees how it attracts extra attention to the question of whether nuclear regulators will grant a renewed 20-year license to Entergy, the company operating Indian Point.
Regulators? What regulators? In the view of skeptical activists, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has made so many concessions to energy companies it can’t be trusted with our safety. But Meeropol is more sympathetic to NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko, who pushes for stronger regulations post-Fukushima and, in the film’s view, is then subjected to a witch-hunt that forces his resignation and makes him unhireable. She also finds sympathy for some who work inside the plant, who seem to feel more personal responsibility for its safe operation than their corporate overlords do.