[here below-- letter I just sent to other 24 county legislators here in Dutchess; need you to help me follow up on this-- with emails to email@example.com, calls to Cuomo and state legislators at (877) 255-9417, and to Congress at (866) 338-1015!...and-- if you can-- please join us tomorrow (Weds.) Mar. 16th at 4 pm at Waryas Park in Poughkeepsie (at foot of Main Street there) for Rally to Close Indian Point-- To Avoid Japan-Style Catastrophe Here!....Joel (444-0599)]
[again-- here is letter I've just emailed to my 24 colleagues in Dutchess Co. Leg.]
I sincerely hope that we might be able to pull together across party lines to make sure that what's happened with nuclear reactors in Japan doesn't happen here in our valley with Indian Point.
See below-- as Riverkeeper points out, "a 2008 study by Columbia University Earth Observatory seismologists found that IP’s three reactors sit at the intersection of two active seismic zones."
Also below-- from today's NY Times online-- "With the crisis in Japan raising fears about nuclear power, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday that she will temporarily shut down seven German nuclear power plants that began operations before the end of 1980 as officials begin a three-month safety review of all of the country’s 17 plants."
The fact is that Indian Point is not safe, secure, or vital-- and if we embrace energy efficiency and renewables there's more than enough energy to go around for us all-- from conservation, the sun, geothermal, the wind, etc.-- see http://www.petitiononline.com/pacehere ; http://www.PACENow.org ; http://www.PetitionOnline.com/SOLAR ; http://www.GetEnergySmart.org .
Please let me know asap if you'd like to cosign a letter with me on this and/or co-sponsor a resolution on this for April.
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03.11.11 :: Latest Developments :: Power Plant Cases
Riverkeeper Responds to Japan Nuclear Plant Crisis
Photo courtesy Giles Ashford
Study Points to Earthquake Risk at Indian Point
The staff of Riverkeeper sends its condolences to the victims of the Honshu earthquake, and we express our sincere hope that the current problems at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant and others will be resolved soon without further releases of radiation. Unfortunately, this unfolding crisis makes real the inherent risks of generating electricity from nuclear power, particularly near densely populated metropolitan areas. Nuclear power plants are unique, because they must have reliable sources of backup electrical power to run emergency cooling systems in the event of a power failure caused by an accident or natural disaster. Without this power, the risk of radiation releases from a reactor, akin to what we are now seeing in Japan increases significantly.
The next logical question is, can something like this happen at Indian Point?
The short answer is yes, it is possible for an earthquake to strike at Indian Point; a 2008 study by Columbia University Earth Observatory seismologists found that IP’s three reactors sit at the intersection of two active seismic zones.
This study also shows the risk of an earthquake as large as 7.0 on the Richter scale, which contradicts Entergy’s earlier representations that the risk of seismic activity is low (i.e., 1.0 to 3.0). This is highly significant because the energy released in a 7.0 level earthquake is literally over a million times more than in a 3.0.
What we don’t know is how much damage an earthquake would inflict on Indian Point, because the Nuclear Regulatory Commission refuses to reassess the risk based on this new scientific data – in fact, the NRC specifically denied New York State’s demand that this issue be examined as part of the relicensing review. As of now, the NRC is basing its conclusion that Indian Point will withstand an earthquake on seismic studies done nearly forty years ago, when the plant was built.
Riverkeeper is calling for an immediate, objective and independent analysis of this risk and its implications for plant operation, emergency response and evacuation planning.
It is our position that until Indian Point is proven safe, it should be closed. We are also calling for spent fuel to be moved out of the poorly-protected pools on sight and into safer dry-cask storage.
The residents of the Hudson Valley and New York City deserve better from the NRC.
It’s time for the NRC to prove to the public that these forty year old reactors will withstand an earthquake based on today’s science, not yesterday’s theories. The risk of relying on outdated science is simply too great to take.
Columbia Seismic Study : http://www.earth.columbia.edu/articles/view/2235
Conservation Can Replace Indian Point (pdf 85.8KB) :
From http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/16/world/europe/16euronuke.html ...
Germany Shuts 7 Reactors for 3-Month Review
By JUDY DEMPSEY
Published: March 15, 2011
BERLIN — With the crisis in Japan raising fears about nuclear power, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday that she will temporarily shut down seven German nuclear power plants that began operations before the end of 1980 as officials begin a three-month safety review of all of the country’s 17 plants.
The move came as European energy ministers in Brussels considered the introduction of stress tests in order to see how the bloc’s 143 nuclear plants would react in emergencies. Construction procedures too might be reassessed, according to Olivier Bailly, a spokesman for the European Union Commission.
‘‘We really need to have a better view of the operation in Europe,’’ Mr. Bailly said as energy ministers met. Nuclear safety will also be raised at the G-20 summit meeting, which will be held in France at the end of the month, Mrs. Merkel said, adding that she had already spoken with Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president.
Mrs. Merkel said the shutdowns in Germany were based on a government decree. Germany is one of the first European countries to halt operations at some reactors in response to the nuclear disaster in Japan. Mrs. Merkel made the announcement after holding emergency talks with the leaders of the 16 German states. The closure of the seven plants means that Germany will have to speed up the development of alternative energy sources, such as renewables, wind and solar power.
It was not immediately clear if the seven plants would remain closed after the end of the three-month review period, said Environment Minister, Norbert Röttgen who briefed reporters after the meeting. On Monday, Switzerland joined Germany in saying that it would reassess the safety of nuclear reactors and possibly reduce reliance on them.
Doris Leuthard, the Swiss energy minister, said Switzerland would suspend plans to build and replace nuclear plants. She said no new ones would be permitted until experts had reviewed safety standards and reported back. Their conclusions will apply to existing plants as well as planned sites, she added. Swiss authorities recently approved three sites for new nuclear power stations.
Germany will suspend “the recently decided extension of the running times of German nuclear power plants,” Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters in Berlin. “This is a moratorium and this moratorium will run for three months.” She said the suspension would allow for a thorough examination of the safety standards of the county’s 17 nuclear power plants.
“There will be no taboos,” Mrs. Merkel said.
Even when the three months is over, Mrs. Merkel warned, there would be no going back to the situation before the moratorium.
Across Europe, officials worried about the Continent’s use of nuclear power as cooling systems failed at a third nuclear reactor in Japan and officials in that country struggled to regain control.
The European Union called for a meeting on Tuesday of nuclear safety authorities and operators to assess Europe’s preparedness. Austria’s environment minister, Nikolaus Berlakovich, called for a European Union-wide stress test “to see if our nuclear power stations are earthquake-proof.”
In Germany, with Mrs. Merkel’s center-right coalition facing important regional elections this month, the move was apparently in part an effort to placate the influential antinuclear lobby and give her coalition some breathing space before making a final decision about nuclear energy.
The foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, called for a new risk analysis of the country’s nuclear plants, particularly regarding their cooling systems. He is the leader of the pro-business Free Democratic Party, which strongly supports nuclear power.
A previous government, led by the Social Democrats and Greens, pushed through legislation in 2001 to close all of the country’s nuclear plants by 2021. But Mrs. Merkel’s center-right government reversed that decision last year and voted to extend the lives of the plants by an average of 12 years.
Nuclear energy provides about 11 percent of Germany’s energy supply but its contribution to electricity output is about 26 percent.
In Switzerland, the suspension of plans to build and replace plants will affect all “blanket authorization for nuclear replacement until safety standards have been carefully reviewed and if necessary adapted,” Ms. Leuthard, the energy minister, said in a statement.
Switzerland has five nuclear reactors, which produce about 40 percent of the country’s energy needs.
From http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110315/NEWS/103150329 ...
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
2:47 pm EDT
Quake safeguards at Indian Point questioned amid Japan disaster
Scientists say potential for earthquake near nuke plant greater than first thought
By Adam Bosch
Published: 2:00 AM - 03/15/11
Last updated: 10:16 AM - 03/15/11
BUCHANAN — Federal regulators are studying the Indian Point nuclear power plant to determine if its earthquake safeguards are adequate, and a leading environmental group wants the plant shut down until the latest seismic data is considered.
Authorities sharpened their focus on nuclear safety after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami triggered explosions and a partial meltdown at a nuclear plant in Japan over the weekend.
The scrutiny of Indian Point has focused on earthquake vulnerability. The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday that it has identified 27 plants nationwide — including Indian Point — that might need to upgrade seismic safeguards because of new science that shows an increased threat.
- The Japanese earthquake was magnitude 9.0. Scientists say faults near Indian Point are capable of producing a magnitude 7.0 earthquake.
- A chance of the most powerful earthquake possible happening near Indian Point is 1.5 percent over the next 50 years, scientists said. The chances of a magnitude 6.0 earthquake during that time is 7 percent.
- Indian Point was built to handle a roughly magnitude 6.1 earthquake.
- Indian Point is one of 27 nuclear plants across the United States that is being assessed to determine if its earthquake safeguards are adequate.
- A nuclear-disaster evacuation similar to that happening in Japan would affect Cornwall, Harriman, Highlands, Tuxedo and West Point in Orange County.
- Indian Point's nuclear units and those affected by the disaster in Japan are all considered "first-generation" plants, built in the 1970s.
NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said a list of plants to be studied was released in September following a string of applications to build new plants across the United States. The study's estimated completion date was unclear.
"It remains to be seen whether the events in Japan lend some urgency to that study," Sheehan said.
2 fault lines near Indian Point
The new information came to light in 2008. A study by a group of leading seismologists from Columbia University revealed a second fault line near Indian Point, the Stamford-Peekskill fault line.
Scientists said the Ramapo Seismic Zone and the Stamford-Peekskill fault line intersect roughly one mile north of Indian Point. These seismic areas have been relatively quiet — producing an occasional earthquake measuring less than 3.0.
But the experts said that combination of fault lines near Indian Point were capable of producing a magnitude 7.0 temblor.
"We think that the intersection of these two (earthquake) features being so close to Indian Point makes it a place of greater risk than most other points on the map," seismologist Lynn Sykes wrote in the study for Columbia's Lahmont-Doherty Earth Observatory, which monitors seismic activity in the Northeast.
"This is clearly one of the least favorable sites in our study area from an earthquake hazard and risk perspective."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo echoed that sentiment in a 2007 petition to the NRC. Cuomo, then New York's attorney general, listed earthquake vulnerability as one of 26 reasons that Indian Point should not be given a 20-year extension of its operating license through the year 2035.
Officials from Riverkeeper, an environmental group that monitors Indian Point, said the Columbia study proves the nuclear plant isn't prepared for a worst-case natural disaster.
On Monday, Riverkeeper Executive Director Paul Gallay called for Indian Point to be shut down until federal authorities assessed the full risk.
"In the wake of what we've seen in Japan — a terrible tragedy that is still unfolding — and considering that the risk of earthquake is so much larger than Indian Point's previous reports suggest, we think there's no other answer than to shut this plant down until you can prove it's safe," he said.
Japan Crisis Raises Concerns About Indian Point Power Plant
March 15, 2011 1:35 PM
Print Share 13
Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant (credit: CBS 2)
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As nuclear plant issues arise in Japan those who live near the Indian Point power plant can’t help but wonder if it could happen here.
Hudson Riverkeeper’s Executive Director Paul Gallay told Westchester County officials that the crisis in Japan raises valid questions about the safety of the.
Gallay is demanding action.
“The feds should shut that plant down until this earthquake risk is properly studied,” Gallay said. “The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is still relying on 40-year-old data that suggests that the risk of seismic activity is somewhere between a 1.0 magnitude earthquake and a 3.0.”
A 2008 study by Columbia University Earth Observatory found that Indian Point isn’t exactly on firm ground and is in one of the worst places to site a nuclear power plant.
“Two fault lines intersect about a mile north of Indian Point and a Columbia University study tells us a 7.0 magnitude earthquake is quite possible,” Gally said. “They’ve been ignoring this risk for three years, God help us if they keep doing that.”
Gallay thinks to keep betting on nuclear power is a mistake.
“It would be a little bit like sending more money to Bernie Madoff after watching him be led away in handcuffs,” Gallay said. “Nobody should be panicking, what the public should do with this information is get schooled up on the actual risk and make sure that their public officials do the same and then the answer will become clear: we need to get our power from another source and we can do it.”
Indian Point provides up to 30 percent of the electricity to Westchester and New York City.