Just arriving on my desktop was a copy of a letter that John Kelly, a member of New York AREA and one-time director of licensing at Indian Point Energy Center, sent to New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer on March 31 in response to a speech on energy policy he gave in Albany on March 29. Because there isn't any online copy of the letter available, I'm reprinting it here in full:
March 31, 2006For what our David Bradish wrote about Spitzer's speech earlier this week, click here. For a post on Tritium from March 24, click here.
The Honorable Eliot Spitzer
State of New York
Office of the Attorney General
120 Broadway, 25th Floor
New York, NY 10271
Dear Attorney General Spitzer:
The New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance (New York AREA) shares your concern, expressed in your energy policy speech on March 29 in Albany, that trace amounts of tritium and strontium 90 are assumed to be leaking into the Hudson River from the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan.
Using conservative, worst case assumptions, the radiation dose to the maximally exposed individual reported by an NRC Special Inspection Report on March 16, 2006 from the amount of radioactive material entering the Hudson from tritium and strontium 90, a dose far too low to measure, has been calculated to be about .00002 millirem per year. By comparison, the average New Yorker is exposed to 360 millirem of radiation a year from natural and man-made radiation sources other than Indian Point, or about 1 millirem a day.
In fact, a low-level radiation chest x-ray (8 millirem) would expose one to more than four hundred thousand times the radiation the maximally exposed individual could receive from the above tritium and strontium 90 pollutants over the course of a year.
Because of these compelling facts, the NRC and has found that there is no threat to public health or safety from the leaks. The New York State Department of Health and Department of Environmental Conservation have participated in the NRC inspection associated with the leaks. Numerous elected officials and their staffs at the local, state, and national level have been kept informed of testing results and developments since fall 2005 and have been, on the whole, quite responsible and temperate in their public remarks about the situation. It is critical that the leaks are rectified quickly, but through scientific analysis and engineering solutions, not the rhetoric issued regularly by anti-nuclear activists.
As you know, our organization represents more than 70 business organizations, labor unions, academics, and independent energy experts who are very concerned about New York's energy future. We are working to have the Article X power plant siting law renewed and applaud your support for an update to the statute that expired 39 months ago. Our members also support the continued operations of Indian Point as a critical component of our energy infrastructure and economic vitality, as well as a major source of power for New York City and the downstate region.
On behalf of New York AREA, I respectfully submit that your March 29 call to close Indian Point is not only premature, but such closure is likely to cause significant and negative economic, environmental, and health impacts to New Yorkers. Indeed, New Yorkers face far greater health and other challenges if the plants do not continue operation and obtain license renewal. Please consider the following:
Air Pollution. On March 22, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported that New Yorkers breathe the dirtiest air in the nation and have a higher chance of contracting cancer from dirty air than do residents of any other state. Without Indian Point's emission free power, counties in the lower Hudson Valley and New York City, already in noncompliance with federal clean air standards, would be much worse off.
A 2002 study by the respected TRC Environmental Corp. consulting firm found if Indian Point's power could somehow be replaced by the mix of other sources currently serving New York State, air pollution would be increased by more than 14 million tons annually, including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, particulate matter and nitrogen oxides and volatile organic carbons which contribute to ozone and smog production.
New York's Electricity Costs are America's Second Highest. The Public Policy Institute of New York (which is affiliated with the Business Council of New York State, a New York AREA member) has found that New York has the second highest electricity costs in the country. Taking Indian Point's low-cost and consistently generated base-load power offline would further increase costs and drive companies away from re-locating, remaining in, or expanding in the state.
Job Retention and Opportunity. The more than 1,200 hard-working, dedicated people at Indian Point place safety above all else through their daily professionalism. Many are members of New York's proud labor unions. Taking Indian Point offline would have a tremendous negative impact on these hard working individuals and their families, as well as many others. Indian Point provides more than $750 million in annual economic activity to New York State through jobs, purchases, and tax payments.
There is No Foreseeable Replacement Power for Indian Point. Organizations like the New York City Mayor's Energy Task Force, the New York Building Congress, and the New York Independent System Operator have documented that downstate New York will need to add quite significant amounts of new electricity in the coming years.
This challenge is compounded by the intensity and sophistication of not-in-my-backyard(NIMBY) opposition. It is further compounded by the expired Article X law, and the fact that it typically took at least five years from the time a new plant was proposed under Article X until it actually produced power.
Indian Point mitigates the need for several large power plants in the southeast corridor. Adding the burden of replacing Indian Point's power to the already quite formidable situation at hand would have profound consequences for New YorkÂs economy and electricity reliability.
By way of background, I am a Certified Health Physicist and the retired director of licensing for Indian Point, the Fitzpatrick nuclear power plant in Oswego and other nuclear power plants owned by Entergy in the northeast. I have lived less than four miles from the Indian Point plants for 35 years with my family, and am quite comfortable that it is among the safest places in New York to reside.
I have recently been asked by Jerry Kremer, New York AREA's Advisory Board Chairman and one of the original authors of the Article X legislation, to serve as the Indian Point Health and Safety Liaison to New York AREA. As such, I will keep track of developments in the detection and remediation of tritium and strontium 90 at the site and inform New York AREA members and others of developments in this regard.
I am also working with Mr. Kremer to arrange a previously discussed meeting with you, your staff, and several of our members -- business and labor leaders and energy experts -- to discuss New York's energy future, Article X renewal, and the critical role that Indian Point plays in making sure that New York has reliable power, and why it must be part of the state's energy equation in the future. I look forward to sharing this dialogue with you in the future to assist in building your awareness of the dire consequences that opposition to Indian Point license renewal will have on air quality, jobs, economic growth and development, and our energy future.
Thank you for your time and attention to these serious matters that will affect all New Yorkers.
John J. Kelly
New York AREA Member
Indian Point Health & Safety Liaison
cc: Ms. Kathy Bennett
Mr. Peter Lehner
Ms. Susanna Zwerling
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