Thursday, July 7, 2011

Implications for closing Indian Point

According to a New York Times article, a study circulating Albany says that closing Indian Point could raise air pollution levels by 5 to 10 percent even with renewable energy solutions, but as much as 15% without those measures. Also with 25% of NYC and Westchester energy coming from Indian Point, we would be at risk for brownouts at peak summer hours. Also energy costs would rise a projected 10%.

I guess creating a plan to have Westchester and New York City reduce their energy consumption by 25% is unrealistic. But I can dream, can't I?

In the wake of Japan's devastation, suddenly people in high places are beginning to call for the close of Indian Point. Governor Cuomo is apparently one of them, but Mayor Bloomberg doesn't want New York City to face potential brownouts, higher energy costs, and burning even more fossil fuels to feed our energy demands.

Personally, I'm not worried about another Fukushima in my backyard, but I am concerned about contamination leaks into the groundwater and the Hudson. For example, in 2005, a small leak in a spent fuel pool caused radioactive water to seep into the Hudson. That can't be good for the fish. In 2006, the New York Times found high levels of nickel-63 and strontium in the groundwater near Indian Point, which the plant operators admitted is from their leaking pool. How long was has Unit 1 been leaking? How much has gotten into the Hudson? How much into our drinking water? What are the effects for the health of the fish and the environment?

Entergy claims that Indian Point can sustain a terrorist attack, a plane crash, 6.1 earthquake, and many other extreme scenarios, but what about the small amounts of contaminants that seep silently into the groundwater. What are the long-term effects of this? Should we be concerned?

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