The agreement also provides for flexibility if the state cannot find a replacement for Indian Point’s energy: The deadlines in 2020 and 2021 can be pushed to 2024 and 2025 if both the state and Entergy agree.
Even three to four (let alone seven to eight) more years of operations at Indian Point 2 & 3 is very risky. Consider the report, commissioned by Riverkeeper, Inc., and written by Dr. Ed Lyman of UCS on the third anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, entitled “Chernobyl on the Hudson? The Health and Economic Impacts of a Terrorist Attack at the Indian Point Nuclear Plant.” Using government computer models, Dr. Lyman calculated that “depending on the weather conditions, an attack could result in as many as 44,000 near-term deaths from acute radiation syndrome or as many as 518,000 long-term deaths from cancer among individuals within 50 miles of the plant.” Dr. Lyman estimated property damages could range from $1 to 2 trillion (yes, with a T!), and that “Millions of people would require permanent relocation.”
Of course, a “mere accident,” as due to age-related degradation (there have been a large number of breakdowns at the four decade old reactors), or a natural disaster, could also unleash such a radioactive catastrophe. A U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission report listed Indian Point as the most vulnerable nuclear power plant in the U.S. to an earthquake. Fault lines were discovered very near Indian Point in recent years.
Also, each year of operations at Indian Point kills a billion fish and other aquatic life in the Hudson River, due to the reactors’ once-through cooling system. And annually, around 40 tons of additional high-level radioactive waste is generated there. Indian Point’s irradiated nuclear fuel pools have been leaking, into the soil, groundwater, and Hudson River, for years, even decades.
“If we can shut down Indian Point under an agreement that enhances public safety and kick-starts investment into safer and more reliable renewable energy sources, that will be a major victory for the millions of New Yorkers who live in the region,” he said.
The Daily News also quoted [f]ormer Westchester Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, a longtime proponent of closing the plant, [who] said: “It’s about damn time. The plant isn’t safe, it isn’t economical and it’s falling apart.”