Curtailment and closure of Indian Point Reactor 2 was initiated on April 30th despite the hazards of this work being done during the pandemic. We won’t know exactly whether this reactor will be temporarily shut or whether that closure will be permanent and take this clean energy asset out of operation forever. Governor Cuomo and his office never responded to our petition, our letter or our offer of a consultation with climate experts arranged for April 30th. Meanwhile, Entergy continues to operate Reactor 3 for another year under the terms of the agreement, so we are continuing to develop a strategy to oppose that closure and restore full operation. If you are interested in helping with the next phase of this campaign, please join our active team.
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The following are the primary reasons why it is wrong to force the premature closure of Indian Point:
1. Backtracks on Climate Action: Cuomo’s plan eliminates clean energy and increases dirty energy, two large steps in the wrong direction on climate. Three new gas plants have been built to replace this clean power: CPV Valley Plant in Orange County, Cricket Valley Plant in Dutchess County, and Bayonne Energy Center in New Jersey. This goes against everything New Yorkers have been promised from the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and will increase New York’s carbon dioxide emissions by 10 to 15 million tons annually, creating a much deeper hole to dig out of. Although the decision to close Indian Point was made years ago, building new renewable energy proved too hard to get done in proximity to the downstate market. Now, years later, new plans to build offshore wind turbines are in the earliest stages but, even if it goes well, are not projected to come online until 2024 or 2025.
2. Increases air pollution, risk of respiratory disease and death for New Yorkers: Indian Point produces particulate-free energy. In shutting Indian Point, Cuomo allows harmful pollutants in the form of particulate matter and other noxious gases to increase, as use of gas plants increases. Fine particulates are dangerous because they pass into the lungs and bloodstream causing illness and death from a wide range of illnesses. The World Health Organization has shown that higher air pollution levels cause increased rates of illness and premature death.
3. Adds grid vulnerability, reduces resiliency: Increases NYC’s grid vulnerability and its risk of summer power outages and/or price fluctuations, as large numbers of natural gas ventures enter bankruptcy due to the economic slow-down. By eliminating 80% of NYC’s clean energy, it vastly reduces energy diversification and therefore resilience of the energy grid, which is more susceptible to failure in the event of further crises that hamper the delivery of gas.
4. Increases Coronavirus mortalities: Increasing dirty energy directly threaten all New Yorkers, as new studies show that the coronavirus may spread upon the particulate pollution in the air! This means that more pollution from NY’s gas plants will increase particulate pollution in the air and so deliver more coronavirus to people in the area, while also increasing rates of Covid-19 mortality, which is directly linked to pollution.
5. Puts workers at risk during COVID-19 pandemic: A Pandemic is the wrong time to make IP’s technical personnel work on shuttering a reactor. Irregular, unique tasks will be required by both the Indian Point plant technical teams as well as at the three new natural gas plants to effect to execute this closure. We don’t know whether additional workers will have contracted Covid-19 as a result of Cuomo not including Indian Point in any of the 25 Executive Orders issued to cease work on other projects.
6. Eliminates clean energy jobs in NY: Hudson River Valley towns will lose a thousand highly skilled, technical jobs at Indian Point. For the surrounding communities and businesses, these losses will be crippling for families unable to replace jobs during this pandemic.
7. Failure to follow scientific experts: Governor Cuomo follows the advice of healthcare experts on Covid-19, yet he ignores the advice of scientific experts, including the NRC, whose job it is to ensure that the entire U.S. nuclear fleet is operating safely, and climate experts who have determined that we need nuclear energy to end dependence on fossil fuels.
8. Exposes rate-payers to liability: Governor Cuomo has implemented policies that specifically exclude Indian Point from obtaining Zero Emission Credits, even though these are available to assist three upstate nuclear power plants to continue to operate as sources of clean energy. This has emerged as unequal treatment under the law and may potentially provide the basis for future litigation against the state.
Closing Indian Point is a bad deal for New Yorkers!
There is a great deal of expert information available here but also at Nuclear New York, which has been focusing on the issue of Indian Point for a long time, as well as at the websites of a number of other coalition partner groups, including Stop Cricket Valley, Protect Orange County, Footprint to Wings, Generation Atomic, and others devoted to supporting clean nuclear energy in New York State and everywhere. Please take the time to learn more and support our efforts to compel Cuomo to protect climate, clean air and health by suspending the permanent closure of New York’s largest source of clean energy until after all fossil generation is closed.
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