Looking Past Indian Point,   Riverkeeper Takes a Pass on Gas 

Richard Webster, Riverkeeper

 To the Editor, 

Jim Roberts’ piece [“Keeping the Lights on with the Green New Deal,” May 2020] regarding New York’s energy options in the post-Indian Point world incorrectly implies that the New York Independent System Operator  [NYISO] says new natural gas-powered plants such as CPV [Competitive Power Ventures and Cricket Valley are needed to keep the grid reliable going forward. 

In fact, NYISO — which coordinates the distribution of our electricity supply —  says that New York will have enough replacement power to replace the aging, unsafe nuclear plant’s output without building these and other new gas-fired power plants.  

 REPLACING REACTOR 2 

In the last three years alone, enough clean energy and efficiency has been installed to replace the recently closed Reactor 2 [at Indian Point] 

 Also, we’ve already made considerable progress toward replacing all of Indian Point’s power — once the last reactor closes in April 2021 — with demand reduction, additional transmission and new renewables, and we are continually making more at an ever faster pace. 
 NYISO’s forecasts for subsequent years show even greater promise because increasing clean energy initiatives continue to be the foundation of New York’s efforts to combat climate change.  

Not only are no new gas plants needed, existing gas plants will rapidly come under pressure to close as the green transformation of New York’s power grid ramps up. 

TROUBLING ISSUES 

Meanwhile, we shouldn’t forget that Indian Point is neither safe, clean, nor green. The plant has had troubling issues with the degradation of the bolts that hold the inner walls of the reactors together; numerous emergency shutdowns and close calls in recent years; and no viable evacuation plan.  

 The pools that house spent nuclear fuel have leaked toxic, radioactive water into the ground, contaminating the local groundwater and the Hudson River. Finally, Indian Point’s antiquated once-through water cooling system kills over one billion fish and fish larvae each year as it withdraws more than 2 billion gallons per day from the Hudson. 

Richard Webster
Legal Program Director
Riverkeeper
Ossining

 

6 Comments

  1. Mr Webster is a broken record, as worn as he is tiresomely irritating and transparently misleading. Not only has he not provided any NYISO data, but his perpetually erroneous attack on Indian Point displays the willful ignorance and deceptiveness to which Riverkeeper has sunk.

  2. Mr Webster is a broken record, as worn as he is tiresomely irritating and misleading.

    Not only does he avoid providing NYISO data, but his perpetually erroneous attack on Indian Point displays the factual ignorance and deceptiveness to which Riverkeeper has sunk.

  3. Mr. Webster is apparently a lawyer, not a scientist of any sort. That might explain the false statements he made in his article. To get a feeling for why Riverkeeper’s board might become concerned with Mr. Webster’s public statements under their imprimatur, let’s take one example from RK’s website and writings: fish larvae deaths through Indian Point’s (IP’s) steam-condenser cooling system…

    RK has written that about 1.5 billion newly-hatched fish larvae are killed yearly by IP. That number is quoted by fish & game folks in various states for any plant that pumps river/sea water at about 2 biliion gallons/day. Of course with IP2 now shut down, the flow is about half that now. But, forget that.

    RK doesn’t do the math that shows 1.5B larvae killed per year means 1 larva per ~700 gallons of water through a fully-operational IP. RK oddly avoids the relevant question: How many larvae are actually in each 700 gallons of Hudson water?

    A video clip on RK’s website was useful — RK’s own boatman takes a bottle of Hudson water out of the river by IP, holds it up to the camera guy and says it’s “teeming with life”.

    How many quart/pint bottles in 700 gallons? Each one “teeming with life”? Which of 2800 quart bottles will be missing 1.5 larvae? Riverkeeper’s boatman might not be able to see a difference even if IP were to kill 100 times as many fish larvae per year — far more than any fish & game authorities estimate anywhere.

    I wrote a letter to RK, upon reading their website’s misleading material and viewing the above video clip of their boatman holding Hudson samples “teeming with life”. RK gave no response. But they did remove the video from their website. Why? What’s Riverkeeper hiding?

    Fortunately, the video was downloaded before RK removed it.

    Our descendants rightly expect us to develop climate/ocean policies based on science & fact. RK’s board might consider that, especially now that it’s ‘succeeded’ in both getting $15 million from Entergy, etc. and causing loss of half of IP’s clean, reliable electricity, which is already being replaced by fracked, leaked and burned gas, which will only increase as NY mistakenly adds more gas-dependent wind/solar installations.

    Wonder what RK will do for New Yorkers’ health & well being after next year’s RK ‘success’ in shutting off IP3 too?

    Dr. Alex Cannara
    650 400 3071

  4. In 1998, the American Petroleum Institute (API) devised a game-plan in response Kyoto protocol, the global treaty to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. One leaked memo after a series of meetings in Washington, DC stated:
    Victory Will be Achieved When
    * Average citizens “understand” (recognize) uncertainties in climate science; recognition of uncertainties becomes part of the “conventional wisdom”
    * Media “understands” (recognizes) uncertainties in climate science
    * Media coverage reflects balance on climate science and recognition of the validity of viewpoints that challenge the current “conventional wisdom”
    * Industry senior leadership understands uncertainties in climate science, making them stronger ambassadors to those who shape climate policy
    * Those promoting the Kyoto treaty on the basis of extent [sic] science appears [sic] to be out of reach with reality.

    Through a concerted effort that funded “research” discrediting established science, extensive ad campaigns that muddled public opinion, currying favor with politicians to ensure regulatory capture, and coercing the media to play along, API and allies “achieved victory” for corporate profit. The planet lost over two decades of fighting climate change.

    In the April 5, 2010 NYTimes OpEd “Showdown at Indian Point,” Riverkeeper President Alex Matthiessen laid bare its game-plan for New York. “Indian Point’s 2,000 megawatts can easily be replaced. A highly efficient combined cycle gas-fired plant at the Indian Point site would take care of 1,000 megawatts. The other 1,000 megawatts could come from any number of sources, including demand-side management, energy efficiency, new transmission lines, wind power and the repowering of existing dirty plants — all of which bring the added benefit of improved air quality in the region.”
    To justify their campaign, Riverkeeper relied heavily on fearmongering against an energy source that has provided emission-free and particulate matter-free electricity to NYC for nearly half a century. During this period, Indian Point caused zero fatalities, while nuclear is the electricity source with lowest ecological footprint (yes, including solar and wind). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms that nuclear power has the lowest carbon intensity of any reliable electricity source.

    Today, Richard Webster continues Riverkeeper’s successful misinformation campaign with laughable phrases like “Indian Point is neither safe, clean, nor green.” Climate champion and erstwhile consultant to (and former member of) Riverkeeper, Charles Komanoff recently stated “shutting Indian Point will result in a more or less one-for-one substitution of its output by climate-damaging fossil fuels, for a long period of time… every bit of renewable energy and efficiency we can muster needs to go to replace fossil fuels, not to replace a different zero-carbon source… it will (possibly be) several decades before that wind turbines are doing Indian Point’s climate good deeds. Until wind and solar (plus hydro and nuclear) dominate the grid, the energy replacing Indian Point will come from under-utilized fossil-fuel generators made to run more than they would if Indian Point were still operating.” However, without Indian Point, the regional grid will be almost entirely fossil fueled.

    But shutting down half of Indian Point, New York lost more carbon-free electricity than provided by all wind and solar deployed statewide. Pretending otherwise is an act of climate denial for the sake of personal gain and institutional benefit. Riverkeeper would lose their claim to half of $15 million in community and environmental closure funds if New York does the right thing for its citizens and the planet by preserving Indian Point.

  5. In 1998, the American Petroleum Institute (API) devised a game-plan in response to Kyoto protocol, the global treaty under negotiation to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. One leaked memo after a series of meetings in Washington, DC stated:
    Victory Will be Achieved When
    * Average citizens “understand” (recognize) uncertainties in climate science; recognition of uncertainties becomes part of the “conventional wisdom”
    * Media “understands” (recognizes) uncertainties in climate science
    * Media coverage reflects balance on climate science and recognition of the validity of viewpoints that challenge the current “conventional wisdom”
    * Industry senior leadership understands uncertainties in climate science, making them stronger ambassadors to those who shape climate policy
    * Those promoting the Kyoto treaty on the basis of extent [sic] science appears [sic] to be out of reach with reality.

    Through a concerted effort that funded “research” discrediting established science, extensive ad campaigns that muddled public opinion, currying favor with politicians to ensure regulatory capture, and coercing the media to play along, API and allies “achieved victory” for corporate profit. The planet lost over two decades of fighting climate change.

    In the April 5, 2010 NYTimes OpEd “Showdown at Indian Point,” Riverkeeper President Alex Matthiessen laid bare its game-plan for New York. “Indian Point’s 2,000 megawatts can easily be replaced. A highly efficient combined cycle gas-fired plant at the Indian Point site would take care of 1,000 megawatts. The other 1,000 megawatts could come from any number of sources, including demand-side management, energy efficiency, new transmission lines, wind power and the repowering of existing dirty plants — all of which bring the added benefit of improved air quality in the region.”
    To justify their campaign, Riverkeeper relied heavily on fearmongering against an energy source that has provided emission-free and particulate matter-free electricity to NYC for nearly half a century. During this period, Indian Point caused zero fatalities, while nuclear is the electricity source with lowest ecological footprint (yes, including solar and wind). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms that nuclear power has the lowest carbon intensity of any reliable electricity source.

    Today, Richard Webster continues Riverkeeper’s successful misinformation campaign with laughable phrases like “Indian Point is neither safe, clean, nor green.” Climate champion and erstwhile consultant to (and former member of) Riverkeeper, Charles Komanoff recently stated “shutting Indian Point will result in a more or less one-for-one substitution of its output by climate-damaging fossil fuels, for a long period of time… every bit of renewable energy and efficiency we can muster needs to go to replace fossil fuels, not to replace a different zero-carbon source… it will (possibly be) several decades before that wind turbines are doing Indian Point’s climate good deeds. Until wind and solar (plus hydro and nuclear) dominate the grid, the energy replacing Indian Point will come from under-utilized fossil-fuel generators made to run more than they would if Indian Point were still operating.” However, without Indian Point, the regional grid will be almost entirely fossil fueled.

    By shutting down half of Indian Point, New York lost more carbon-free electricity than provided by all wind and solar painstakingly deployed statewide over 2 decades. Pretending otherwise is an act of climate denial for the sake of personal gain and institutional benefit. Riverkeeper would lose their claim to half of $15 million in community and environmental closure funds if New York does the right thing for its citizens and the planet by preserving Indian Point.

  6. LIAR==”NYISO — which coordinates the distribution of our electricity supply —  says that New York will have enough replacement power to replace the aging, unsafe nuclear plant’s output without building these and other new gas-fired power plants.”

    TRUTH== Nuclear is the SAFEST EGEN, Safer than Solar PV with a Small Eco-Footprint. premature Closing indian Pt Nuclear is a crime against Earth http://www.nuclearny.org/indian-point/

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