Thursday, March 17, 2011

End Nuclear Power in the Hudson Valley Now

The devastating events in Japan have renewed interest worldwide in the closing of nuclear power plants. Germany has taken action to close down 7 older plants, and China has halted approvals for new plants to be built.  We can only hope that the US will follow suit - nuclear power isn't safe or sustainable.

Indian Point, located just across the river in Westchester County, is the closest nuclear power plant to us here in Nyack, and it is, to say the least, rickety.  There have been problems with radioactive leaks,  malfunctioning rods, and storage concerns.  In fact,  a study revealed that of all the nuclear power plants nationwide, Indian Point is at greatest risk for earthquake damage, due to it's proximity to the Ramapo fault line.  In the meantime, the plant dumps warm water into the Hudson River, upsetting the ecosystem.  With 20 million people within a 50 mile radius of this plant, a full evacuation would be close to impossible. 

What you can do: (from the website CloseIndian

Write a note to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and tell him why closing Indian Point is important to you. Ask him to use the power of his office to prevent the relicensing of the reactors at Indian Point. Use a note card and don't make a big deal out of formal terms of address or anything else. Just get something in the mail. This is something you can do with your kids. Write to: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Executive Chamber, State Capitol, Albany, New York, 12224. Or fax 518-474-1513.

Or write to Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. Thank him for his “plan to work toward an energy future without the Indian Point nuclear power plant” in Westchester County. Ask him to continue to use the power of his office to prevent the relicensing of the reactors at Indian Point. The address is New York State Office of the Attorney General, The Capitol, Albany, New York, 12224. Or call him at 518- 474-7330. 

You might want to read this excellent article in the Huffington Post yesterday, "Too Cheap to Meter: Ten Myths about Nuclear Power" by Michael Rose.

Is there a nuclear power plant near you?


Joanne said...

There's a nuclear plant about 50 miles from here. It sits on a pretty bay off of Long Island Sound. And any time I see it when I'm down on the shoreline, I think of how it ruins such a pristine view, and pristine environment. What a shame these plants are.

tut-tut said...

I lived next to a power plant that was at the time being decommissioned, Yankee Rowe in Rowe, Massachusetts. The town of Rowe got lots of $$ for having that there; the surrounding towns got the risks.

tut-tut said...

I meant I lived in the next town over to the power plant, not right next to it! Can you imagine?

Serge Seymour said...

Did I not just see that Obama was going ahead with two more nuclear plants and funding them with some huge amount of money as well? Also, several that already exist seem to be near faults (within a mile). How smart was that? How can anyone feel good about living near something like that. I use to sail past one leaving Biscayne Bay going to Bahamas and it always gave me the creeps. They are all wrong for our world. How could anyone see anything but big bucks somewhere to go along with this. Have they gone completely mad??? Sandra Seymour

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

I hope they will close it down. You can't control nature and never can predict when any earthquake will happen accurately. I don't trust the goverment, if something happen they always hush it down so people won't panic and avoid chaos. I used to live in Japan for 6years and I know how tight the goverment there control their press. They distract people with other news so that people won't panic or keep on hitting hard on the goverment.

Anonymous said...

Stop panicking guys! Doomsday is around the corner anyway!

meemsnyc said...

I agree with you. There are so many other alternatives to nuclear. Wind power, solar power, let's get cleaner is what I say.

Pam J. said...

Energy production and use is such a complicated subject that I've never been able to arrive at a position I feel I can defend with facts. Back in the early 80s I protested against nuclear power plants with much conviction, but then... I got married, bought a house, had kids, bought cars and computers, drove to work daily (alone in my car next to thousands of others who were also alone in their cars), took vacations, in other words, I used energy thoughtlessly and often. Yeah, yeah, I recycle, I turn off lights not in use, I buy fluorescent bulbs and small, gas-efficient cars. But I still feel like I'm part of the problem because I'm sure that some of my activities are powered by the nuclear plant 70 miles away on the Chesapeake Bay. If the Japanese, in the years immediately after World War II, had decided to rebuild their country using petroleum products only (ie, no nuclear power) would they still have become the world's 5th largest economic base? Probably not. If you asked the Japanese today if they would like to re-do the past 50 years without nuclear power, I'm sure many would say sure. But ask them 10 years from now.

Human progress has a price, and sometimes the price seems too high.

Whew! That felt good. Just to spew that out. Sometimes commenting on a blog can clear out my head. Thanks for giving me a forum. (And I hope Cuomo closes your power plant, because I "know" you and the power of a human connection can sometimes overcome even rational thought.)

Oh! One final thought. I heard Cornell West on Bill Maher's show recently and he said something like this: I'm not an optimist but I can still have hope. I'm with Cornell.

JGH said...

Joanne, I know. I find it disconcerting whenever I'm driving along the Hudson River and see the plant, too.

Tut, I really hope the plant is providing lots of $ for the surrounding towns here- they deserve something for absorbing that risk.

Serge, I hadn't heard about the Obama approvals. He picked the wrong time to get behind this.

Malay Kadazan - corrupt legislators and high paid lobbyists are often behind these operations. Even when there are violations, the licenses get approved. It's baffling.

Pam, you bring up a lot of good points. No form of power is perfect - I even heard testimony recently about how disruptive the wind turbines are for the people living near them. Someone asked me if I'd be willing to pay $40 more per month on my electric bill to have the plant shut down. Maybe yes in the short term, but we have to do what we can to work in favor of more options and accessibility to new sources. I'm sure my feelings are colored by the fact that we are so close to Indian Point. If it were far, far away from people and earthquake fault lines, we might be more tolerant

JGH said...

Meems, I wish it were easier and more affordable to subscribe to wind and solar power. Natural gas harvest has proven totally problematic - my heat comes from oil, so we're not running clean here yet :(

garden girl said...

There are at least 7 in Illinois, and a few of them are within 50 miles of us. We're not thought of as a big earthquake area, but we've had a few small ones in the last few years. Earthquakes, tsunamis or not, nuclear power is not sustainable, and no good solution has ever been found for dealing with spent nuclear waste.

Carol said...

Fantastic post! Lets all become engaged and call congress demanding a sustainable and clean energy strategy. Nuclear power is the most insane form of energy. Fracking is too! We had our Three Mile Island and then Climate Change and the toxic industry is taking advantage, but Nuclear power is not the way to curb global warming. WE are subsidizing them as well!! Obama . . . what a disappointment. WE must change the way we elect officials. They are all beholding to major corps.

Sharon Lippincott said...

I'd like to add another few cents worth to this debate. I'm searching for stats to confirm a memory of something I read in the last couple of days. I think it was that 200,000 people die every year from diseases caused by coal plant emissions. I live in the Pittsburgh region where coal plants cause ozone alerts every summer, and by the way, rape the landscape, kill legions of coal miners (in accidents or via black lung), and emit 0.03 mrem/year of radiation compared to 0.009 emitted by nukes.

Natural gas? I have a new swear word: FRACKING. Do you have any idea how many millions of acres of land are as toxic from fracking fluid as they would be from nuclear waste? How likely it is that your grandchild will eat beef that grazed on polluted grass? Do you know how many thousands of square miles of aquifers have become unfit for consumption by any growing thing, and can't be cleaned up? In an age when every drop of water is precious... This is EVERYONE's problem! It's here now. It's real. It far surpasses the worst case scenario around Fukushima.

I'd love to see wind power, but how many more wind farms do I want to look at? How many birds and bats am I willing to sacrifice? And what do we do when the wind isn't blowing?

Solar? Unaffordable and impractical today on any large scale, even in the Mojave desert where the sun shines.

Compare the reality that millions are dying slow deaths from coal and on balance, far fewer will die of radiation complications in Japan.

For now, until we develop more reliable, secure, clean, affordable technologies, you are welcome to build a nuclear plant in my back yard. In fact, I had one there for twenty years before I moved to Pittsburgh.

JGH said...

Sharon, thanks for writing with lots of valid points. That is a shocking number of people dying from coal emissions!! I think one of the most concerning things about nuclear power, is, as you point out, what we are leaving for future generations - what to do with the waste? Combine that with the recent report citing it as the #1 most vulnerable to earthquake damage, the potential danger is much greater than in most areas, since this area just north of NYC is so densely populated. An astromical number of backyards affected. As you point out, no power is perfect and we all agree that we need more options.

Pam J. said...

I'm back, with more thoughts, because I always regretted my comment 2 months ago. The consequences of Japan's nuclear disaster are finally sinking into my feeble brain, and I'm now convinced that no matter what it takes, how long it takes, or how much it costs, humans MUST begin to dismantle and deactivate all nuclear power plants. I felt that way decades ago, when I was young. After Japan, I decided that with age came wisdom, and nuclear power, while problematic, was here to stay. Now I'm back to "it's gotta go." I won't live long enough to see the full consequences of Japan's nuclear crisis, but from how it looks today I wouldn't be surprised if it brings that nation to its knees. (it's quite liberating to write this so long after the fact...maybe only Jen will read it...but now I feel so much better about what I said 2 months ago)