The New York State Public Service Commission has ordered a contingency plan be drawn up in the event that the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant in Buchanan is shut down. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.
The PSC has ordered Consolidated Edison to collaborate with the New York Power Authority and develop a contingency plan for closing Indian Point.
That directive was given as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Energy Highway Blueprint issued by the Energy Highway Task Force in October. The goal of the Highway Blueprint is to investigate ways to better deliver and meet the energy needs of downstate New York.
Democratic State Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, who chairs the Assembly Energy Committee, calls the directive “prudent at every level.”
Entergy spokesman Jerry Napi explains that Indian Point provides 2,000 megawatts of electricity, providing an average of 25 per cent of Westchester and New York City's needs, enough to power 2 million residences, Metro North and the New York City subway system. Napi says it does this without burning the fossil fuels that cause global warming.
Napi notes that imported power wouldn’t be as reliable or cheap as local power — new transmission lines would probably need to be strung - Observers point out that years after the Shoreham Nuclear Plant was closed by Governor Mario Cuomo, Long Islanders now pay some of the highest electric rates in the country... Shoreham was built between 1973 and 1984 by the Long Island Lighting Company, but never operated. It was fully decommissioned in 1994.
Napi affirms that Indian Point's reactors are carefully monitored, and Entergy is committed to safely operating the plant.
Some activists warn shuttering Indian Point opens the door for the gas industry to ramp up hydrofracking - Frack Action's John Armstrong doesn't see that happening. Officials with RGGI - the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative - said they had no comment - Assemblyman Cahill expects the new power plan will show New York can survive without Indian Point. Neither the PSC nor its Chairman Garry Brown returned calls soliciting comment.
Indian Point owner Entergy has applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for new 20-year licenses to operate its units two and three at Buchanan. Licensing renewal hearings are scheduled to reconvene next month.