By LAURA INCALCATERRA AND GREG CLARY
THE JOURNAL NEWS
(November 9, 2007)
(November 9, 2007)
BLAUVELT - A Greenpeace founder who now advocates for nuclear energy addressed about 100 people yesterday during the Rockland Business Association's annual meeting.
Patrick Moore used the opportunity to call for the relicensing of the Indian Point nuclear power plants. He said an increasing number of countries were turning to nuclear energy and that the United States should as well.
Moore said nuclear power plants were safe and, unlike coal-burning plants, did not produce carbon dioxide and other forms of air pollution. He said politicians who advocated shutting down Indian Point used the issue to gain support and that many environmentalists used scare tactics in their efforts to close them.
He also asserted that the anti-nuclear movement was all but dead and that most opposition nowadays was seen in California and the Northeast.
"There is a very strong majority of support for nuclear in the future of the energy mix in the U.S.," Moore said.
Entergy Nuclear Northeast, which owns and operates Indian Point 2 and Indian Point 3, has applied for license extensions for both. If granted, the renewals would allow the plants to operate until 2033 and 2035, respectively.
The original 40-year license for Indian Point 2 will expire in 2013. Indian Point 3's will expire in 2015.
Some community activists have raised concerns, which led Rockland and Westchester counties to go to court to try to force the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to change its relicensing criteria.
The NRC does not consider such factors as population density and the ability to conduct an effective emergency evacuation as part of its relicensing process.
Among those opposing the relicensing is Tarrytown-based Riverkeeper organization, whose policy director, Lisa Rainwater, criticized Moore's view of nuclear energy yesterday.
"It's difficult to call any form of energy clean when it produces waste that is deadly for hundreds of thousands of years," Rainwater said by telephone yesterday.
"Indian Point's 1,500 tons of waste are stored on the banks of the Hudson River in leaking, spent fuel pools that are poisoning the river and groundwater," she said. "If that's clean energy, Riverkeeper would like to know what constitutes dirty energy."
Moore is a consultant to the New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance, whose members include Entergy. The alliance is helping the company in its relicensing effort, spokesman Paul Steidler said after the meeting.
Moore spent 15 years as a leader of Greenpeace, but said he decided he wanted to work on building consensus among competing concerns rather than continue in the "politics of confrontation."
He said many people call for the shutdown of nuclear plants without offering an alternative. He said sites for hydroelectric plants have all been taken and that natural gas was too expensive to use as a fuel for power plants.
He said solar and wind power were not enough to ensure an adequate supply of energy and that coal was too polluting, leaving nuclear power plants as an alternative. He said such plants were also much cheaper to build than coal-burning units outfitted with the best-available pollution controls.
Reach Laura Incalcaterra at 845-578-2486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.