“Governor Cuomo, Don’t shut down Indian Point, downstate New York’s largest source of safe, reliable, carbon-free electricity, essential to reducing our state’s dependence on fossil fuels and combating climate change.”
Make no mistake: the fate of Indian Point matters to you. That’s particularly true if you work there or live nearby — but it is also true if you value a clean, reliable source of energy. Do not let scaremongers persuade you that the benefits of the plant’s closure outweigh its continued operation. Read on for the unvarnished truth.
Why? Indian Point’s Unit 2 reactor is arbitrarily scheduled to close on April 30th, and Unit 3 the following year. Closure will deprive New York City and Westchester County 80% of its carbon-free electricity generation.
Indian Point’s closure will significantly increase our state’s reliance on natural gas, a fracked and leaked fossil fuel contributor to climate change. Governor Cuomo can and should extend the operation of these reactors under authority to act on the climate change emergency. The NRC has already approved re-licensing. Please add your name or organization to the petition to let Gov. Cuomo know.
Those of you whose professions, jobs, businesses, homes, and schools are reliant on, or associated with, the Indian Point Energy Center are aware of the effects its loss will be to your community. These licensed, safe reactors are engines of the regional economy and provide clean energy with no greenhouse gas emissions and particulate matter pollution. Opposition to this plant is based on falsehoods aiming to scare the public. That is why clear science and facts are necessary to show how these reactors are so beneficial to life and the economy of the region. Workers and their families will be forced to relocate, the municipalities and the school system will lose tax revenue, and student enrollment, and businesses will close.
What You Need To Know: Every nuclear plant around the world that has been taken out of service is replaced by fossil-fuel burning generating facilities – not renewables, as the opponents would has us believe. There is simply not enough wind and solar to fill the gap when Indian Point is gone, for at least a decade. The state’s ambitious offshore wind initiative is incapable of providing equivalent power until sufficient grid-scale storage becomes available, and the fantasy of carpeting the state with solar farms simply borders on the absurd. The alternate Champlain-Hudson Power Express to bring hydroelectricity from Quebec has faced much opposition, delaying its construction for years on end.
Two massive gas plants are slated to replace Indian Point’s power: The CPV plant in Orange Co., and the Cricket Valley facility in Dutchess Co. These gas-powered plants emit global-warming pollutants, CO2 and CH4 methane. This increase in greenhouse gases will undermine the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) mandate, which commits New York to eliminate the burning of fossil fuels in the coming decades. These gas plants also cause significant particulate matter pollution, posing health risks. Risks of an extremely low-probability nuclear accident need to be balanced against documented health effects associated with outdoor air pollution.
A commitment to gas power will mean a locked-in dependency on fracked fuel supplies while we electrify the rest of New York’s economy (transportation, home heating, and industry). Beyond the brand new combined-cycle gas plants, we will have to bring back older, more polluting plants in the NYC area. The gas/fossil fuel industries will be delighted to see Indian Point decommissioned and demolished because the valuable onsite transmission lines leading to the city are perfectly suited for a combined-cycle gas turbine plant to be built in time.
Safety Concerns: We are grateful to the many dedicated Indian Point workers, who have provided our region with clean, affordable and reliable power for over 54 years. However, the plant and its workers have not been treated with the respect they deserve. They do not gamble their safety, and that of their families, friends and associates in the community. They know how stringent operating precautions and regulations are, as set by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC). Like all plant owners and operators nationwide, Entergy Corp. is obliged to follow stringent guidelines to maintain its license.
Critically, how valid are the stated reasons for shutting down the plant? At this 11th hour these require reconsideration of the issues at hand. You are the jury. Claims made by the governor and those demanding the shut down can, in fact, be shown to be false with facts, evidence, and data.
FACT: The earthquake fault fear: contrary to long-held accusations, Indian Point is no “Fukushima on the Hudson.” The plant is 1 mile from the Ramapo Fault, not “on it”, and is sited in solid bedrock, which conducts and disperses energy from the largest shock-waves to reduce ground shaking. Ramapo is a slip fault, engaging in little of the vertical motion affecting normal structures. Note: As unsound as the Fukushima Daiichi plant’s sea-level placement was, it, and 53 other Japanese reactors shut down safely during the 2011 Tohoku quake – an intensely powerful 9.0 magnitude that shifted all of northern Japan about 8 feet closer to the U.S. in seconds. Indian Point is one of the few facilities in the region designed to withstand 7.0 Mw seismic events, and probably the safest place to be if a strong earthquake impacts the surrounding area.
Indian Point is sited well above the highest historical flood levels and was unaffected by Hurricane Sandy’s huge upriver surge – hardly a ‘tsunami.’ On the contrary, East River fossil fueled plants like Ravenswood and Bowline may not sustain the storm surge that Indian Point can. New York is not considered a seismically active area; the U.S. Geological Survey puts the risk to the plant at 1 in 106,000 reactor years.
The fear that Indian Point is a “Chernobyl waiting to happen” is a fallacious notion intended to alarm a vast population into believing in a 50-mile zone of evacuation and terror. No such danger exists, as extensive studies by engineers and scientists, and actual worldwide experience have demonstrated. Note: Chernobyl’s reactors could not be built or licensed outside the old USSR. Fear-mongers fail to mention that regulated nuclear power is safer around the world than even solar panels.
FACT: plant ‘aging’ is also fear-mongering — there’s nothing in a nuclear plant that can’t be repaired or replaced as needed. Both Turkey Point and Peach bottom plants have recently been licensed to continue to 80 years of operation — no reason they won’t go further, serving reliable clean energy that, unlike wind/solar, doesn’t need complimentary fracked gas. NRC’s standards are as strict as any in the world. Accusing NRC of negligence, risk-taking and susceptibility to bribery is scurrilous. The anti-nuclear movement’s intense, willfully ignorant attacks have sown unsupported fears in the public mind.
Plant Workers and the NRC will tell you, allegations of “dangerous and unsafe conditions” – broken bolts, radioactive leaking, explosions, over-capacity waste storage, and more, are false. In each documented case, malfunctions were routine maintenance issues in subsidiary components unrelated to reactor operation and safety. The much-exaggerated tritium leak radioactivity was measured and reported at far below at-risk levels, as was venting incidents, and levels of spent nuclear fuel in dry cask storage. The “explosion” incident was a shorting-out of an electrical transformer, far removed from the heavily-reinforced reactor units, which are under constant monitoring and supervision. Emergency backup systems at this, and all plants are redundant to 3 levels, and security drills and protocol are the most rigorous in the U.S. Indian Point’s safety record is rated, normal to above average.
We need action now – not when it’s too late. The responsibility is ours; this is an ‘all hands on deck’ moment – nothing less. To look back and say, ‘if only we had known’, is not what you’ll want to tell your co-workers, constituents, students, readers and viewers, family and friends, what ‘could have been done’. Join these groups: Nuclear New York, Climate Coalition, New York Energy & Climate Advocacy, The Energy Reality Project, Californians for Green Nuclear Power, Nuke Warriors, Transatomic, Mothers for Nuclear, Xero-C Silicon Valley, and the Thorium Energy Alliance to add your name/title/affiliation to our online petition to Governor Cuomo.
Thank you, Governor Cuomo, for your immediate and thorough response to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the health and safety of all New Yorkers, Indian Point’s operation and continued supply of clean, reliable electricity is critical to powering our hospitals and keeping the lights on in our homes and emergency centers. With even hotter summer months ahead, Indian Point is essential to meet energy demands from power-intensive air conditioning in the metropolitan and downstate region.