Action / Decommissioning

Short Responses to Common Misconceptions

Electricity Replacement and Greenhouse Gases

Misconception

If Indian closes we would have no other sources for electricity except for gas, coal and diesel fired plants. That would mean a lot more greenhouse gases and pollution that would disproportionately affect minority communities that are already dealing with high rates of asthma.  

Short response

Nobody wants more gas, coal or diesel. The generation of electricity is a big business which is regulated by the Independent System Operator.  Because of our ample supply of electricity they have stopped issuing  requests for proposals from new generators. A cable under the Hudson River from NJ has been in operation since 2016.  It will carries 500 MW.  An additional 3,600MW is under construction and came on line in 2016 and 2017. A cable from Canada running the length of the state is currently under negotiation. Demand for electricity is not growing nearly as fast as predicted. While this is partly due to the economy, it is also due to increased conservation and efficiency measures as businesses strive to cut costs and use less electricity for the same amount of work. Governor Cuomo plan for an “Energy Highway” for New York has allowed improved transmission, conservation and demand side management to replace new generation.

Electricity Production

Misconception

Indian Point supplies 25% of the electricity for our region.  Without the 2,000MW of electricity from Indian Point the lights are going to go off and the subways will stop running.  It is vital to our economy and without it the price of electricity will skyrocket.

Short response

How on earth do you figure 25%?  The math just doesn’t add up. We are not talking about 2,000MW’s of electricity that the plant can produce. We are only talking about what is used in the Westchester/New York City grid, 550MW.  How many people pay their electricity bill to Entergy, the company that owns Indian Point?  Nobody! Con Ed delivers all of the electricity in this grid and that is what they reported in contractual agreements. The New York Power Authority used to buy electricity from Indian Point but they no longer do so because they got better deals elsewhere, and they only operate on long term contract, so the subways use no electricity from Indian Point. 550 MW is not a big deal out of the 11,000MW the grid might require on a typical day and is certainly not 30% of what is used. The reactors go off line all the time, sometimes planned and sometimes not, and nobody even notices. Electricity is a commodity in a deregulated market which is quite healthy with a lot of providers. If your electricity is not delivered by Con Ed you get no electricity from Indian Point at all.

Nuclear Power in France, Japan, China

Misconception

Other countries use nuclear power. If they can manage it why can’t we. What about France? They get most of their electricity from nuclear power and they don’t have any problems.

The short response

Areva is the main nuclear company in France and it just went bankrupt.  The French could not bring in their new model reactor in Finland.  It was billions of dollars over budget and behind schedule so the project was cancelled. The government of Finland is now suing them to recover some of the money they invested. And, by the way, France faces the same problems with their reactors as we do. You just don’t hear about it because the French government owns the reactors in that country and they have an official secrets act that makes it illegal  to publish information about their nuclear program.  Activists and journalists are arrested in France and have had their computers seized. Their prime minister campaigned on a platform to reduce their reliance on nuclear power by a third. As for Japan, they have reopened only three of their reactors since Fukushima. All of the others are under safety review by their newly formed Nuclear Regulatory Authority. China has little or no quality control enforcement or regulatory body. When it comes to nuclear power construction, everything is off limits to the public and there is a lot of corruption, hence the term “tofu concrete.” Is that what you want here? More importantly, we are talking about Indian Point.  Not about what happens in France or any other country.  

 

Misconception

We will have rolling blackouts and numerous power shortages when Unit 2 and Unit 3 go off line in 2020 and 2021.

The short response

Many people are not familiar with the way our grid is managed and how electricity now operates like a commodity. It must also be noted that demand for electricity is falling at about 2% per year. Our grid is firmly supervised by an agency called the Independent System Operator.  They are the ultimate experts and they are confident that the grid will be fine.  That is why they gave Entergy permission to close the reactors. 100 MW needs to be added over the next five years to ensure an ample reserve of 20%.  This can come from conservation, transmission, efficiency, demand response, upgrades or new generation.  They recently laid out two possible scenarios – one with gas plants that are already to come on line and one with all renewables.  While both work, New York needs to lead the way for the rest of the country and go green – no more fossil fuel or uranium.

Marilyn Elie, Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition

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