Indian Point is not safe, Indian Point should be shut down, (pay close attention) but not until we have replacement power for it. Would be interesting to see the Journal News do their job as journalists, and ask the governor the all important follow up question when he trots out that tired old pony, which is, "What additional energy onto the grid, and/or energy conservation do you plan on counting towards that replacement energy you say needs to be there?"
ACE New York whose membership is heavily infested with people associated with the nuclear industry has already stated their 3000 megawatts if energy onto the grid are in addition to, not a replacement for Indian Point...how convenient. Suppose if the state mandated everyone was to use energy efficient lighting (including retail stores and malls), that said conservation savings would also not count in Governor Spitzer's mind? It's a classic example of a Three Card Monty scam...where's the energy that counts towards closing Indian Point? It's a classic con of the voters...re-elect me, I did everything in my power to close down the trouble plagued Indian Point facility, but it was out of my hands.
Governor Spitzer, the State Attorney General and DEC have all the tools/cards they need to close down Indian Point. Litigation, and a denial of their discharge permit closes the book on this putrid facility. OH! Just one little wrinkle in the ointment...could it be, that the state of New York does not want to go up against Entergy and Indian Point because they OWN the land (and maybe the discharge canal itself)that Indian Point uses to discharge pollutants into our dearly loved Hudson River? For those now scratching their heads, read Entergy's Environmental Report attached to their Application for License Renewal.
So, IPSEC's press release applauding Governor Spitzer is more than premature, it is simply misplaced. It's like applauding Congressmen Maurice Spitzer and John Hall for trotting out their tired legislation calling for and ISA when they know it is not ever going anywhere...it's a smoke and mirrors cover to protect them from their constituents.
IPSEC Applauds Governor Spitzer
The Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition applauds Governor Eliot Spitzer for his clear understanding that "it just doesn't make sense" to have a nuclear power plant at Indian Point in Buchanan, New York. With 8% of the population of this country living within a 50 mile radius of the plant a radiological event at the plant could have consequences that would dwarf those of September 11.
The governor expressed this opinion in a meeting with the editorial board staff of The Journal News and it was reported in that paper last Wednesday. He also stressed the need to have alternative sources of energy in place to replace the power. While this is an important step in planning for closure, the Coalition would like to remind the Governor, and others, that electricity is a commodity that is bought and sold. We live in free market economy that has worked very effectively to create an electricity surplus in New York State.
Right now Indian Point is contributing slightly more than 2,000 MW to that mix. As long as this amount of electricity is being pumped out, there is little room in the market for additional companies to supply more electricity. Once closure is announced it becomes possible for other utilities to make plans to fill the gap and enhance their profits.
That's the way the market works and so there is every reason to expect that businesses will find a way to make a profit once the opportunity presents itself. While we do need to plan ahead, there is no need to count out 2,000MW's.
The chief obstacles to building new power plants are siting and proximity to transmission lines. Most communities do not want a power plant in their backyard and local opposition can still add years of delay to beginning construction. These problems do not exist at Indian Point. The site is already zoned for a power plant and the local community welcomes it, Transmission lines are obviously in place. This makes Indian Point an extremely valuable piece of real estate, no matter how the electricity is generated there.
When other nuclear plants in the U.S. have closed, the electricity has been replaced. A nuclear plant in Fort St. Vrain, Colorado was converted to a gas plant. When the Rancho Seco Nuclear Plant in California was closed by a public vote, "replacement energy" came from an efficiency and renewable power program which achieved a sizable reduction in the need for power.
The undeniable fact is that Indian Point will have to be closed. The question is not if, but when. Most importantly, when the energy market knows that Indian Point will not be re licensed, they will have time to plan intelligently for power options that are safer, cleaner, and far less dangerous from a security standpoint than an aging nuclear plant with a long history of safety and security problems.
When you couple the fact that other means of production can replace Indian Point at the same site, with other elements such as:
the governor's vigorous support for wind energy and other alternatives
a conservation program that has as a goal holding usage flat while continuing economic growth through efficiency
improvements to the grid itself that make it easier to move electricity over longer distances
it becomes apparent that closing an aging nuclear power plant and replacing it with a different kind of electricity generation is a small piece in the much larger puzzle of New York's energy landscape.
Certainly it makes a lot more sense than continuing to operate a facility that poses a risk to so many people and generates highly radioactive waste that must be stored on site.
We can replace the power, we can't replace the people.