I have lived four miles from the Indian Point nuclear power plant for over a quarter of a century and have closely followed the ups and downs of the reactors there the whole time. I watched with interest and growing disappointment the interview with Meredith Angwin as she skated over issues that have consumed our community for years as the reactors moved first towards recertification and then decommissioning.
Just to be clear; Indian Point was closed because the corporation that owned it, Entergy, was not making enough money to satisfy stockholders. It had little to do with activists or an environmental movement. Some who opposed the plant would like to claim credit, but it was really a business decision because nuclear could not compete in New York’s deregulated market place.
The high level radioactive waste that will be left behind is a huge deal both to the community of Buchanan where the reactors are located and to a wider regional area despite Anguin’s statement to the contrary. Her analogy to strong household chemicals and vinegar to radioactive waste is insulting.
Our community has studied this issue for years, attended hearings and listened to many experts. Used fuel rods are deadly for 240,000 years.The best computer model for the life span of the casks is 60 years. There is no plan for replacement of casks or transfer of damaged fuel rods. Nor are many people living around Indian Point willing to transfer this mess to another community that does not want it. That would be anti democratic and immoral.
Anguin stated that “the wind blows as opposed to when an operator in the control room says the grid needs the power.” She goes on and says nuclear power is superior because we control it and turn it on and off. (7:29 on the transcript) This is not true. A nuclear power plant is either on or off. You cannot dial it down when it’s output is not needed and quickly bring it back on line later. It is unfortunate that she would put out this misinformation and that the host was evidently not familiar enough with the topic to make a correction.
As Amory Lovins has said, we need to build the fastest and cheapest way to produce the maximum amount of electricity. Nuclear reactors fail both of these tests. They are not fast to build and the electricity they produce is not cheap when compared to other sources. Even keeping old reactors operating delays progress toward renewables. While there may be a short turn bump in fossil fuel use when a reactor closes, renewables soon rush into the market and succeed because they are cheaper. Watch the presentation by the City Club of Eugene, Oregon: Should Nuclear Be Part of the New Energy Future for details, charts and graphs on this. Amory starts about 30 minutes into the program with detailed statistics.
For even more information read the classic exchange between Lovins and Stuart Brand of the Whole Earth catalog from 2009 and their discussion about baseload, footprint, and the government’s role. What is laid out in this exchange has never been more relevant to what we face today.
Nuclear power is unneeded and ineffective in dealing with an overheated planet. Those concerned about climate change know that fossil fuels and uranium must remain in the ground.
Hi All –I had to add another 30-mins of work× to your already busy schedule, but this is important.I subscribe to a VERY well respected new progressive web channel carlled “Breaking Points,” formed by two journalists who split off from “TThe Hill” because it was getting too MSM. They wanted to do something better and different.Unfortunately, in today’s segment, Saagar Enjeti started gushing all pro-nuclear and had a pro-nuclear guest on swatting beach balls, slaying straw persons, and sewing red herrings all over the place. Specifically though, she took on Indian Point as her example of how short-sighted us anti-nuke folks are.I would ask that you please watch this 12-min segment, and leave a comment, and identify yourself as someone from the NY/Indian Point area. Thanks in advance.I left a lengthy comment, which I paste below.Thanks in advance. This is an important, progressiv channel; we can’t afford to lose them to the pro-nukers (they actually had Michael Shellenberger on on March 9th!!).–Dave–
Meredith Angwin DEBUNKS Anti-Nuclear Power Talking Points | Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar
REBUTTAL TO BREAKING POINTS APRIL 9, 2022 WITH Meredith Angwin
Sagaar — you’re making me worry. While it’s understandable that you would be intrigued by the gee-whizz promises of the nuclear industry and its advocates after BOTH the recent IPCC report and the Ukraine situation, and the fact that it’s a difficult and complex issue, I have to caution that you are getting seduced far to easily for someone purporting to be a progressive reporter/commentator, and who’s trying to “stick it to the MSM.” Your gush over nuclear is far too MSM at this point.
This is the second piece B/P has aired endorsing nuclear without a counterpoint view, the other being the March 9 Marshall Kosloff piece with pro-nuclear advocate Michael Shellenberger. I submitted a list of potential guests to him who had both far greater credential and the opposite position from Shellenberger (and I would now add Angwin), and Marshall replied saying he’d keep them in mind for the future. I provide that list for you, too below. Hope you will demonstrate that B/P in NOT like MSM, and provide one or more of them as a counter-point to both the biased content and style with which you have presented the pro-nuclear position in this segment.
While I agree with a lot of what Angwin presented, there is just as much of what she said that is both contestable, and in some cases outright incorrect. Worse though, in a 12 minute piece, she and you can only paint in broad brush strokes, which superficially makes nuclear more attractive. It’s when you get down in the trenches and the details where you begin to see how badly nuclear sucks. But aside from dealing only in convenient generalities, there is another very significant area where you really dropped the ball big time:
As a counter-MSM-journalist, I was shocked at 1.) your inability to grasp the difference between what is hard fact and industry-engineered self-fulfilling prophecy (e.g., the discussion about natural gas); and 2.) your total obliviousness to the most important maxim of deep-journalism: “follow the money.” I can cut you slack for not knowing a LOT of these details (you admitted you’re just lately reading and learning about nuclear); but I can assure you after following this industry for 43 years there’s a LOT that rotten in Denmark. Dangerously so when nuclear starts getting so uncritically promoted as a “climate solution,” or even loopier — Europe’s/Ukraine’s energy alternative to Putin and other fossil fuel dictators! Can we not see just how brittle, dangerous, and irrational placing MORE reactors in the path of potential war zones is after witnessing what we’ve seen in Ukraine??
Buying into nuclear this glibly without a more in-depth and counter-pointed dialog is similar to to how adolescents buy their first car: if it’s red, fast, and a convertible, that’s the one! Forget all that talk about safety, cost, insurance, maintenance, etc., right? You really don’t want to go cheap on those things with nuclear power.
To conclude, here’s the list I sent to Marshall. And now we’ll see if my investment in B/P was worth it.
Be well, PLEASE make the effort to learn more; and keep on doing on the other stuff, where I have almost lock-step agreement with you.
POTENTIAL GUEST LIST: Here’s a list of national and internationally respected candidates for such a future segment who can contest much of what was presented today: — physicist and energy analyist, Amory Lovins, current a faculty adjunct at Stanford, co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute — energy researcher and author Dr. Mark Jacobson, at Stanford University — former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairperson and physicist Dr. Gregory Jaczko — Former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairperson and geologist Dr. Alison Macfarlane — physicist and energy analyst Dr. Arjun Makhijani, president of the Inst. For Energy and Environmental research (www.ieer.org) — former nuclear power executive, manager and engineer Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education — Peter Bradford, former NRC Commissioner, and former head of the public utility commissions for the states of New York and Maine