Saturday, July 29, 2006

Ignoring The Facts on Indian Point

A few days ago, I mentioned that many of the folks who had been more vocal about closing the nuclear reactors at Indian Point Energy Center had disappeared from the public square in the wake of the power outage gripping parts of New York City.

It looks like I spoke too soon. From the New York Sun:

And the winner of this week's gubernatorial debate between Democrats Eliot Spitzer and Thomas Suozzi was … Republican John Faso. Both Messrs. Spitzer and Suozzi said they'd close the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Westchester County, this after a week of 95 degree heat that left tens of thousands of Queens residents without power. The nuclear plant provides 2,000 megawatts of electricity, or about 11% of the state's supply, without supporting Middle East oil potentates or creating the pollution generated by burning coal.

After watching the debate, we rang Mr. Faso and asked him about Indian Point. "It's amazing that they would have answered the question that way," he said of the Democrats. "We need more generating capacity, not less." Mr. Faso noted that closing Indian Point would mean that businesses would close for lack of electricity. "Air conditioning wouldn't work," Mr. Faso said.
Thanks to Urban Elephants and News Copy New York for the pointer.

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Kirk Sorensen said...

It seems as though Mr. Spitzer doesn't want the facts to get in the way of a useful opinion. That is an error each of us should watch for in ourselves as well.

Dr. Gonzo said...

Just a bit of info. I have been compiling a list of declared "nuclear emergencies" from the NRC's Event Notification Reports for a while now on my blog.

This was largely in response to Rory Kennedy's documentary on Indian Point, which I found biased and incomplete. I wanted to find out for myself what the facts were.

What I have found out about Indian Point isn't all that scary, at least no more so than any other nuclear plant.

From 2000-2005 Indian Point experienced three "Unusual Events" and one "Alert." There are eight other U.S. nuclear plants that had three Unusual Events during that time period and eleven plants that had four or more unusual events during the same period.

As for the alert, which is the second classification of nuclear emergency according to the NRC, there were nine other plants besides Indian Point which experienced the issuance of at least one alert and three plants had two alerts; again between 2000-2005.

In fact, of the 65 nuclear power sites in the U.S. only thirteen experienced no issuance of a nuclear emergency classification.

I think this shows that the threats are often overblown and the benefits outweigh the cons. Nuclear power offers the most viable solution to our energy woes at the moment. It's either that or global warming, take your pick.

You can check out the rest of my nuclear info at:

don kosloff said...

I have never seen any evidence that Mr. Spitzer has any interest in using facts to influence his putative public policies.

It is amazing that New York state currently gets more than 10 percent of its electricity by burning oil.