Could it happen here?
As Japan struggles to contain an unfolding nuclear disaster and a plume of radiation begins a slow waft toward California, Indian Point is on many people's minds.
"It's too close to a major metropolitan area and should be shut down," said Bob Zawacki of Briarcliff Manor on Thursday.
Mary Jones of Hawthorne said she, too, was concerned: "It makes me nervous, especially in light of what's happening in Japan. "
At the Unisex Palace hair salon in the Cortlandt Town Center the conversation also revolved around what happened in Japan and the safety and logic of Indian Point, the Entergy-owned set of reactors in Buchanan.
Some agreed that Indian Point should not remain open, but not all — one woman felt it is good for the community and safe.
"Indian Point should be kept open because it keeps jobs, keeps taxes down, a lot of the money goes to the schools. I don't think we will ever have an earthquake even though it is on a fault. If you don't like it, don't live there," said Marianne Martin of Yorktown.
"In Japan, it is horrifying. They were prepared, but weren't prepared for anything that big. They are doing better than we would. But it is not over yet there."
Elsewhere, residents were also struggling with how to process the events in Japan.
Cassandra L. Barr, a 25-year-old from Yorktown, said she wasn't too concerned because New York doesn't suffer earthquakes as severe or as frequent as Japan.
"But," she continued, "after these recent events I think Indian Point should verify that their reactors are structurally sound and do any maintenance work required to prevent any kind of future meltdown."
Also 25, Laura DePaolo Reilly of Yorktown said the situation in Japan — where on Thursday desperate missions tried to cool the reactor — is certainly making her more fearful.
"We've now seen the damage something like this can do," she said. "It makes me wonder, do we have a plan of action should something like Japan ever happens here?"
Leaving the Eveready Diner in Southeast around 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Bill Cebek of Danbury, 53, said he was actually comfortable playing the odds.
"You've got to think of this, that was a 9.0 quake, what's the odds of something like that happening here? ... The reason why these things are going like that because you had the 9.0 quake and the tsunami so you've got to put all these factors together."
Paul Steiniger, 47, of the Bronx, an operator with Metro-North, had this to say about Indian Point: "Thing's been sitting there for years, nobody has said boo about it. I work in Grand Central Station, so the odds of someone blowing themselves up there are a lot more prevalent than that, but I'm not worried about it."
He laughed a bit, incorporating the kind of gallows humor for which New Yorkers are famous.
"If that's my time to get blown up, I get blown up. What am I going to do about it?"
Kathleen Reilly contributed to this report.