Indian Point falsehoods will lead to energy shortfall

Tuxedo /
| 09 May 2021 | 11:17

    The Photo News article in the May 7-13 edition expressed much misinformation regarding the closing of the Indian Point Energy Center.

    Governor Cuomo’s claim of not being able to evacuate people in the surrounding communities in the event of an accident is untrue. In the 1980s when I was employed in the Nuclear Engineering Division of the New York Power Authority, we developed an evacuation plan and successfully simulated its operation to the approval of FEMA inspectors.

    The governor’s scare tactic claim that the plant complex could be a terror target similar to the World Trade Center attack is also wrong. Following 9/11 I computer modeled the two reactor containments and the surrounding terrain along with a (to scale) Boeing 727 airplane and consulted with a Delta senior airline pilot. He stated the position of the plant, its relative low profile within the surrounding hills and the curves within the Hudson River would not enable a large jet to slow and maneuver at low altitude sufficiently to hit the plant – he said it would be an impossible target for a 9/11 type attack.

    The environmentalists’ claim the plant is “...killing fish by taking in massive amounts of river water for cooling” is also false In the 1990s we installed a type of rotating (Ristroph) screen and bucket system that retained a great amount of fingerlings while safely sluicing them 180 feet downriver, when previously they would be impinged on the older screens.

    The irony is that as plant proponents claim the shutdown will require more dependence on natural gas plants, while the governor is restricting upstate drilling and environmentalists oppose new gas line construction. Just today, 5/8/2021, it was announced that a major cross-country energy pipeline was hacked rendering it inoperable. Even the Biden administration is now considering nuclear power as possibly being necessary to support his green energy plans.

    Both Governor Cuomo and President Biden along with many environmentalists extol the benefits of renewable energy: wind and solar and plan a carbon-free society in the near future. Considering the 2000 plus megawatt (i.e. million watt) loss of Indian Point electricity, high quality solar panels will produce only 8 watts per square foot. At that piddling rate it will require over 150 square miles of panels to equal Indian Point’s output, and that’s part time during daylight. Where in the metropolitan area will that large a piece of real-estate be available or even feasible? Also, solar energy is only about eight to ten percent efficient in the snowy, cloudy days in the winter of long nights in the northeast.

    Despite the urgency of shutting the Indian Point facility, I have not read any realistic and viable plans to compensate for this loss of nuclear energy. It appears Governor Cuomo is attempting to follow the California governor’s lead in blacking-out down-state New York for lack of prudent planning and fantasy beliefs.

    William E. Lemanski