A wide range of safer, cleaner energy options is available to replace Indian Point Energy Center if the nuclear plant is not relicensed in 2015, according to an independent analysis commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Riverkeeper. Thanks to an energy generation surplus it can be done at no impact to the reliability of the region’s electricity supply and at modest cost. A related new NRDC analysis of the costs and consequences of an accident at Indian Point also reveals it could cause a catastrophe far worse than the Fukushima disaster in Japan.
“The world watched the nuclear crisis in Japan with fear and heavy hearts; no one wants to see a repeat here in one of the most densely populated regions of the country,” said NRDC President Frances Beinecke. “Fortunately, we have a wealth of safer energy sources ready to go that can fully replace the power from Indian Point. When we consider the human and economic costs of a nuclear crisis in New York, and the host of benefits from investing in clean energy, the solution is common sense.”
NRDC’s new risk analysis compares the human and financial costs of the Fukushima disaster to the potential risks of a nuclear crisis at Indian Point, and reveals that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) still underestimates the danger posed to Indian Point from seismic activity. An accident at one of Indian Point’s reactors on the scale of the recent catastrophe in Japan could send a fallout plume south to the New York City metropolitan area, require the sheltering or evacuation of millions of people, and cost 10 to 100 times more than Fukushima’s disaster.
Fortunately, a wide range of alternative energy options are available today that can replace the full electricity capacity provided by Indian Point Energy Center. Findings show that energy efficiency and renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, alone could meet energy demand in the region. And there is additional capacity available through new transmission projects and by making existing natural gas power plants much more efficient.
Safer Energy Alternatives – Available and Ready to Go
A new report prepared for NRDC and Riverkeeper by economics consulting firm Synapse Energy Economics examines energy alternatives to Indian Point. The report finds that there is currently a surplus of electricity capacity in the regions near Indian Point, including New York City, and that even if the Indian Point units were closed when their current operating licenses expire by 2015, there would be no need for new electric capacity to meet reliability requirements until 2020. The replacement options identified in the report are either already underway or can be implemented well before then.