Is it really closing? Is it certain that the license cannot get extended? The closing agreement calls for closure in 2020 for Unit 2 and 2021 for Unit 3. In case of an energy shortage or national emergency the plant may stay open an additional four years. Most importantly – Entergy, owner of the plant, wants out. They are shutting down Entergy Northeast as fast as they can.
Do the reactors at Indian Point still present a danger? Yes, perhaps more as things wind down. Entergy, owner of Indian Point was fined $140,000 for workers falsifying tests at Pilgrim. How likely are they to make expensive repairs at Indian Point when it is closing and they will not be able to get any return on their investment?
How will we get the power to replace Indian Point? Indian Point has already been replaced, that’s why it is going out of business. Their electricity is too expensive to compete. A replacement process was started in 2012 by the PSC and what is on line now is adequate for the next five years. The New York Independent System Operator – planners and policemen to the New York State grid – see to that. Also, you don’t need new generation. Conservation and efficiency count!
Who’s in Charge Here? Nominally, the NRC, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, US Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy. Regulations for all of these agencies vary and coordination will be difficult. In reality the owner of the license exercises most control
What about reuse of the property? Not for a long while. No one knows the extent of the contamination on the property. It is a big problem that must be carefully and independently monitored before any kind of reuse. A Community and a New York State Task Force are looking into this: their chief concerns; property taxes, school district, real estate development and workforce issues. Massive deconstruction, dealing with contamination and storage of waste is all in the near future. How long this will take has not yet been determined.
What about the radioactive waste? The popular opinion about irradiated fuel rods – the highest level of highly radioactive waste – is simple. Make them go away! There is no place for them to go. Yucca Mountain Nevada is the poster child for this. It stands at the end of the San Andreas fault and Nevada does not want to be the nuclear dump for the country. What about democracy or contamination of another community? Is it fair to force high level radioactive waste on an unwilling community? What about our moral responsibility to maintain what was used here?
So what do we do with it? There is no good solution to high level nuclear waste. The industry is looking at “interim” storage in New Mexico or Texas for a parking lot dump which means massive transportation through our cities and highways then park and forget about it OR reprocess, a nasty business. The best possible answer: Hardened On Site Storage and a legislated Citizens Oversight Board. Keep it where it is, store it above ground and monitor it for eternity or 240,000 years, the length of time it will be lethal.
It is the position of the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition that high level radioactive waste must remain on site. It is part of the inheritance of our region and we are responsible to see that it is managed safely and isolated from people and the environment. Transportation is too dangerous and it is immoral to contaminate another community with our waste. Fossil fuel and uranium must be left in the ground if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. As Amory Lovins says – renewables are variable but predictable. Our grid can work with that. We must move toward conservation, efficiency, demand response, solar power, wind and other sources of green energy. Join us in this effort for the benefit of our community!
To find out more about a Citizens Oversight Board visit our website at www.ipsecinfo.org. Also visit the websites of our coalition partners Clearwater and Riverkeeper for additional information. See The Joint Hearing of NY Assembly & Senate on closing Indian Point: https://tinyurl.com/nysenate-hearing-Indian-Point. Some of the most knowledgeable people in the field of energy in New York testify about closing Indian Point in this video. It debunks the myth that any replacement power for Indian Point is needed. See also a video of a forum organized by Manna Jo Greene of Clearwater and others at https://tinyurl.com/Indian-Point-Forum-11-17. Visit The Environment TV at https://theenvironmenttv.com, and search for Indian Point for videos of forums and discussions on decommissioning and a wide range of topics related to Indian Point.