Threats Of NYC Blackouts Over Indian Pt. Closures Prove To Be Myth

The two nuclear reactors sitting just outside New York City are up for license renewals. Both will have reached their end of life dates by 2013 and 2015. Without renewals by the NRC each unit will be forced to retire. Many in NY state including the governor and attorney general want the plants shut down. Adding to the concerns about the aging nuclear plant is the larger issue that it would be impossible to evacuate New York City in a nuclear disaster leaving millions in harms way.

A NY Post article claimed shutting down Indian Point would plunge NYC into blackouts. This is not exactly what the govt. report says, it actually outlines quite the opposite.

The US nuclear industry and many of their long time advocates fanned the flames with more fearmongering:

NEI, the nuclear industry lobbyist group touted the NYC blackouts in a news release.

These are some of the social media claims put out by the nuclear industry and their industry media outlets:

 

The reality is that Indian Point only provides a small amount of power to NYC.

The two independent, authoritative, unequivocal analyses will come as a blow to Entergy, owners of the twin reactors on the banks of the Hudson River about 25 miles from New York City. They also undermine the persistent, inflated claims of the plants’ media and business community supporters that the Indian Point Energy Center provides 30 percent of the electricity used in the area – when they actually provide just 5 percent – and are essential for continued economic growth.”

 Indian Point provides only 560 megawatts of the electricity transmitted in the area by ConEd, and sells the rest in a market stretching from Maine to Ohio. That is just 5 percent of the electricity used by area businesses, transit systems, and residents.” 

There are already other options and plans for other energy sources.

However, there are mechanisms in place that would adequately replace any deficiency related to the closure of the IP units,” the report states. “New York has robust planning and regulatory processes that would automatically implement either market-based options or regulatory backstop solutions in the event a deficiency is identified.

“In addition, there are a variety of generation and transmission projects that are in different stages of development that could provide adequate replacement power. For example, since the 2010 RNA, the Hudson Transmission Project, currently under construction, will provide at least 320 megawatts of supply to New York City by mid-2013. There are also a number of projects in the NYISO queue, including generation projects proposed in Southeast New York that may come into service by 2015, adding up to 2,000 MW, as well as several proposed transmission projects that could bring up to 3,000 MW of additional capability into Southeastern New York by 2016.

“In addition, Governor Cuomo created the Energy Highway Task Force in 2012 to address the infrastructure needs of the energy system in New York. The Task Force issued a Request for Information in April, 2012 and received responses from 85 private developers, investor-owned utilities, financial firms, and other entities with 130 ideas to upgrade and revitalize the state’s ageing infrastructure, totaling more than 25,000 MW. Among those responses, over 11,000 MW of new generation, dedicated transmission, and other upgrades could be applied toward a replacement for Indian Point.”  (source)

The region’s expected shortfall is only 750 MW.
The report cites multiple efforts underway to assure there is more power from more sources to the NYC area and does not project a shortfall.
The only issue cited is a bottleneck in transmission that has solutions rolled into the future and current projects for NYC.

According to the government report the shortfall isn’t nearly the issue it has been proclaimed to be by the company and industry that stands to lose their old reactor cash cow.   There are multiple solutions in progress with previous state efforts efficiently adding needed transmission and generation once identified.

A copy of the state report can be found here.

Shutting down a reactor isn’t necessarily a recipe for doom and gloom. Sacramento CA voted to shut down the public utility owned Rancho Seco nuclear plant. The plant was shut down the next day and the public utility began down a path of both conservation and growing new sources of energy that is still paying off today.

 

 

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