[ RadSafe ] NYT Article: N.Y. Grid Could Stand to Lose Reactors, Panel Says

John Jacobus crispy_bird at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 7 15:41:55 CDT 2006

Someone at work pointed out this article.  Personnaly,
economics will also be the deciding factor.  Right now
I am looking at a 75% increase in utility rates due to
deregulation.  And we get a portion of our electricity
form Calvert Cliffs NPP.


June 6, 2006
N.Y. Grid Could Stand to Lose Reactors, Panel Says 
WASHINGTON, June 6 — New York's electrical grid could
get along without the Indian Point nuclear reactors,
but replacing their output would be difficult and
expensive, according to a report by a special
committee of the National Academy of Sciences.

The report, released today, said electric demand is
growing so fast in the region that even if the
reactors stay in operation, simply keeping the lights
on in peak summer periods will be a challenge in
coming years.

Congress provided $1 million for the study, under a
bill sponsored by Nita Lowey, a Westchester Democrat
who says the reactors should be closed because of the
risk of release of radiation through accident or
terrorist attack. Ms. Lowey's office said, in an
announcement, that the report showed that "we can
continue to meet New York States energy needs without
Indian Point." But the 280-page report cited major
obstacles to doing so. 

"While the committee is optimistic that technical
solutions do exist for the replacement of Indian
Point, it is considerably less confident that the
necessary political, regulatory, financial and
institutional mechanisms are in place to facilitate
the timely implementation of these replacement
options," the report said. At the moment building any
power plant in New York State is difficult, the report
said, because a law that governed environmental
reviews and permits for new plants was allowed to
expire in 2003. 

The amount of generating capacity under construction
now is inadequate to meet peak demand in 2009, and the
shortfall would be far larger if Indian Point closes,
it said. 

The report said the alternative to Indian Point,
unpopular with some environmentalists, was in part
another kind of energy plant that environmentalists do
not like: ports for tankers carrying liquefied natural
gas. And forcing the reactors to close would run
counter to another environmental effort, the Regional
Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which is supposed to start
cutting carbon dioxide output in the region in 2008,
the study pointed out. They represent more than 99
percent of the generating capacity in Westchester

The two reactors make up only about 5.3 percent of the
state's generating capacity but they produce 10.1
percent of its energy, the study said, because they
are low-cost producers and are run around the clock,
nearly all year long. Closing them would push
electricity rates up, but it did not say how much.

Some activists have tried for decades to close the
plants, but the campaign drew more momentum after the
attacks of Sept.11, 2001; American Airlines 11, the
plane that hit the North Tower of the World Trade
Center, flew down the Hudson River, over Indian Point,
on the way. 

Indian Point's two operating reactors have licenses
that expire in 2013 and 2015, but Entergy, the owner,
has invested heavily in both plants, working to raise
their power output, and is expected to seek 20-year
extensions of their licenses. The company is building
a storage pad outside the buildings to house casks of
highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel, because the
waste will soon fill the pools that were designed to
hold it.

But the fuel has become a confounding factor in the
debate; as the report noted, if the reactors were
closed, the vulnerability of the fuel to attack would
not initially change.

"You get a lot more authority when the workforce doesn't think it's amateur hour on the top floor."
GEN. MICHAEL V. HAYDEN, President Bush's nominee for C.I.A. director.

-- John
John Jacobus, MS
Certified Health Physicist
e-mail:  crispy_bird at yahoo.com

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