The Sixth Seal Will Be On The East (Revelation 6:12)

New Evidence Shows Power of East Coast Earthquake

Virginia Earthquake Triggered Landslides at Great Distances

Released: 11/6/2012 8:30:00 AM

“We used landslides as an example and direct physical evidence to see how far-reaching shaking from east coast earthquakes could be,” said Randall Jibson, USGS scientist and lead author of this study. “Not every earthquake will trigger landslides, but we can use landslide distributions to estimate characteristics of earthquake energy and how far regional ground shaking could occur.”

“Scientists are confirming with empirical data what more than 50 million people in the eastern U.S. experienced firsthand: this was one powerful earthquake,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “Calibrating the distance over which landslides occur may also help us reach back into the geologic record to look for evidence of past history of major earthquakes from the Virginia seismic zone.”

This study will help inform earthquake hazard and risk assessments as well as emergency preparedness, whether for landslides or other earthquake effects.

The research is being presented today at the Geological Society of America conference, and will be published in the December 2012 issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

The USGS found that the farthest landslide from the 2011 Virginia earthquake was 245 km (150 miles) from the epicenter. This is by far the greatest landslide distance recorded from any other earthquake of similar magnitude. Previous studies of worldwide earthquakes indicated that landslides occurred no farther than 60 km (36 miles) from the epicenter of a magnitude 5.8 earthquake.

“What makes this new study so unique is that it provides direct observational evidence from the largest earthquake to occur in more than 100 years in the eastern U.S,” said Jibson. “Now that we know more about the power of East Coast earthquakes, equations that predict ground shaking might need to be revised.”

It is estimated that approximately one-third of the U.S. population could have felt last year’s earthquake in Virginia, more than any earthquake in U.S. history. About 148,000 people reported their ground-shaking experiences caused by the earthquake on the USGS “Did You Feel It?” website. Shaking reports came from southeastern Canada to Florida and as far west as Texas.

In addition to the great landslide distances recorded, the landslides from the 2011 Virginia earthquake occurred in an area 20 times larger than expected from studies of worldwide earthquakes. Scientists plotted the landslide locations that were farthest out and then calculated the area enclosed by those landslides. The observed landslides from last year’s Virginia earthquake enclose an area of about 33,400 km2, while previous studies indicated an expected area of about 1,500 km2 from an earthquake of similar magnitude.

“The landslide distances from last year’s Virginia earthquake are remarkable compared to historical landslides across the world and represent the largest distance limit ever recorded,” said Edwin Harp, USGS scientist and co-author of this study. “There are limitations to our research, but the bottom line is that we now have a better understanding of the power of East Coast earthquakes and potential damage scenarios.”

Learn more about the 2011 central Virginia earthquake.

Save the Oil and the Wine (Revelation 6:6)

Record deal to cut oil output ends price war – BBC News

TASS / Getty Images

The deal represents the largest cut in oil production ever agreed

Opec producers and allies have agreed a record oil deal that will slash global output by about 10% after a slump in demand caused by coronavirus lockdowns.

The deal, agreed on Sunday via video conference, is the largest cut in oil production ever to have been agreed.

Opec+, made up of oil producers and allies including Russia, announced plans for the deal on 9 April, but Mexico resisted the cuts.

Opec has yet to announce the deal, but individual nations have confirmed it.

The only detail to have been confirmed so far is that 9.7 million barrels per day will be cut by Opec oil producers and allies.

On Monday in Asia, oil rose over $1 a barrel in early trading with global benchmark Brent up 3.9% to $32.71 a barrel and US grade West Texas Intermediate up 6.1% to $24.15 a barrel. Shares in Australia jumped 3.46% on Monday led by energy exporters, but Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.35% on continued concerns of poor global demand because of the spread of the coronavirus.

US President Donald Trump and Kuwait’s energy minister Dr Khaled Ali Mohammed al-Fadhel tweeted the news, while Saudi Arabia’s energy ministry and Russia’s state news agency Tass both separately confirmed the deal on Sunday.

“By the grace of Allah, then with wise guidance, continuous efforts and continuous talks since the dawn of Friday, we now announce the completion of the historic agreement to reduce production by approximately 10 million barrels of oil per day from members of ‘OPEC +’ starting from 1 May 2020,” wrote Dr al-Fadhel in a tweet.

Global oil demand is estimated to have fallen by a third as more than three billion people are locked down in their homes due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Prior to that, oil prices slumped in March to an 18-year-low after Opec+ failed to agree cuts.

Talks were complicated by disagreements between Russia and Saudi Arabia, but on 2 April oil prices surged after President Trump signalled that he expected the two countries to end their feud .

The initial details of the deal, outlined by Opec+ on Thursday, would have seen the group and its allies cutting 10 million barrels a day or 10% of global supply from 1 May. Another five million barrels were expected to be cut by other nations outside the group such as the US, Canada, Brazil and Norway.

It said the cuts would be eased to eight million barrels a day between July and December. Then they would be eased again to six million barrels between January 2021 and April 2022.

‘A rehashed deal’

Independent oil market analyst Gaurav Sharma told the BBC that the deal agreed on Sunday was “marginally lower”, compared to the 10 million barrels per day that was originally announced on Thursday. Mexico had balked at making these production cuts, which delayed the deal being signed off.

Then on Friday, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that Mr Trump had offered to make extra US cuts on his behalf , an unusual offer by the US president, who has long railed against Opec.

Mr Trump said Washington would help Mexico by picking up “some of the slack” and being reimbursed later, but he did not detail how the arrangement would work.

• US backs Opec deal with cuts to boost oil price

• Coronavirus: Oil prices surge on hopes of a price war truce

• Oil plunges in Asia as producers start price war

“Now a rehashed deal placating Mexico has resurfaced to calm the market, yet, look closer and the doubts surface,” Mr Sharma said.

“The bulk of the output cuts are predicated on Russia and Saudi Arabia cutting 2.5 million barrels per day from agreed – and somewhat inflated – levels of 11 million barrels per day. More importantly, for most of 2019, Russia displayed very poor form in complying with previously agreed Opec+ cuts. So the market is unlikely to take the announced cut at face value.”

He added that forecasts for a drop in demand in the summer appear to be “dire”, with even the most optimistic forecasts pointing to a reduction of 18.5 million barrels per day.

Mr Sharma said: “The announcement can stem the bleeding, but cannot prevent what is likely to be a dire summer for oil producers with the potential to drag oil prices below $20 (£16; €18).”

Iran Assumes Hegemonic Control of Iraq (Daniel 8:4)

No Iranian-American Agreement in Iraq: The US Doesn’t Have Enough Leverage to Match Iran’s

Elijah J. Magnier6 hours ago

Mustafa Al-Kazemi has been chosen Prime Minister after difficult negotiations marked by intra-Shiite disagreement. The President of the Republic, Barham Salih, had exploited this disagreement when he boldly challenged the majority Shia in Iraq by his choice of an anti-Iranian and pro-US candidate, Mr. Adnan Al-Zurfi. The nomination of Mr. Al-Kazemi is a response to this move; Shiite blocs had already circulated his name several months ago.

When Mr. Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the caretaker Prime Minister, resigned, consultation began among various Shia political leaders to find a candidate enjoying support from most blocs. That is a task that, in the past, had always been given to the Iranian IRGC-Quds commander Major General Qassim Soleimani (treacherously assassinated by President Donald Trump at Baghdad Airport) and Sheikh Muhammad Kawtharani, who represents Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. Sayyed Nasrallah enjoys great respect and a close personal relationship with all Iraqi parties of different religions and policies (Shi’a, Sunni, Kurds, tribal, and others) with whom he is in regular contact. Iraqi leaders failed to reach the agreement without outside intervention.

Many Shia groups categorical rejected President Saleh’s candidate (al-Zurfi) and decided to oppose his candidacy. However, Al-Kazemi’s selection as a new Prime Minister did not take place until Tehran asked all the Shi’ite blocs to unify their decision, to disregard al-Zurfi and choose a candidate that all could agree upon.

This is how al-Kazemi reached the premiership:

Sayyed Ammar al-Hakim, supported by Muqtada al-Sadr, was the first to promote Mustafa Al-Kazemi last year following the resignation of Abdel-Mahdi. However, other Shiite blocs refused to accept any counter-terrorism officer, intelligence chief or any other officer belonging to the military-security establishment. Many Shia blocs are apprehensive about any candidate with a similar profile to Saddam Hussein. The experience of Nuri al-Maliki in control – he who refused to share the power with Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds – is still alive in these leaders’ memory.

Due to the disagreement within the Shia bloc, Qusay al-Suhail fell and was followed by the governor of Basra, Asaad Al-Eidani, when President Barham Salih refused to abide by the constitution and nominate the candidate of the largest bloc. Saleh played on the intra Shiite disagreement, mainly between the Al-Fatah bloc headed by Hadi al-Amiri and the Saeroun bloc led by Muqtada al-Sadr.

Because demonstrators rejected any candidate nominated by the dominant political blocs, Sayyid Muqtada tried to ride the wave by considering himself the representative of the demonstrators who in fact refused him as they did other establishment figures. Subsequently, President Saleh was asked by Sayyed Moqtada to reject any name he did not agree with. Moqtada claimed that he, not Al-Amiri, held the largest bloc.

Later on, Muhammad Allawi also failed because he refused to consult the Sunni, the Kurdish blocs, and some Shiites in choosing his cabinet members. Allawi wrongly believed he could rely on the support of Sayyed Muqtada Al-Sadr, who had promised to bring everyone to Parliament by all means to approve Allawi’s cabinet. Moqtada failed to convince the Shia, the Sunni and the Kurds, and was unable to bring Allawi to power.

However, President Saleh went further relying on the Iraqi constitution rather than the prevailing consensus between Iraqis (Shi’a, Sunni, and Kurd) and nominated Adnan al-Zrafi, who is anti-Iran and pro-American. Many political blocs and Shia organizations announced their rejection of al-Zrafi. At the same time, the Dawa candidate (Adnan al-Zarfi) enjoyed the support of his chief bloc, led by former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Al-Zurfi was also secretly supported by Nuri al-Maliki, who wanted the position of prime minister to return to the Dawa Party (since 2005 and until 2018 al-Da’wa held the position of PM). Al-Zurfi also enjoyed support from Sayyed Muqtada al-Sadr, who had been promised control over any ministerial cabinet or any other senior position within the Iraqi state.

Despite Iran’s official statement that it did not oppose the nomination of Al-Zurfi, the reality was different. Al-Zurfi was tacitly accused of burning Iran’s consulate in Najaf and Karbala during last months’ demonstrations. Admiral Ali Shamkhani – who, along with Major General Qassim Soleimani, was in charge of the relationship between Iran and Iraq – visited Iraq, followed by a short visit of General Ismail Qa’ani. Both men carried one message to the Iraqis: “We don’t disagree with the choice of Mr. Mustafa Al-Kazemi, if he is your choice, and we enjoy good relations with him.” Iran has never said these words about al-Zrafi.

First Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani announced his support for al-Kazemi, and then Sunni leader, Speaker Muhammad al-Halbousi, followed suit. Barzani wanted to send a message to the Shiite blocs, so they would not again choose a candidate for the presidency who does not have a Kurdish authority above him, as happened with President Saleh.

Saleh was Qassem Soleimani’s choice and turned out today to be a mistake from the Iranian and the Shia blocs’ point of view. Fouad Hussein, the Minister of Finance, was Erbil’s choice, but Soleimani considered him at the time the candidate of the American presidential envoy Bret McGurk. This is why Soleimani asked the Shiites, Sunnis, and his allies Kurds in Sulaimaniyah not to vote to Hussein but to promote Barham Saleh. Saleh told Soleimani in 2018 that he would immediately nominate the candidate he wanted. This is how Adil Abdul Mahdi was elected Prime Minister.L

There has never been a US-Iranian understanding in Iraq. Instead, when possible candidates have been chosen to attract minimal opposition from the Iranians and the Americans. Al-Kazemi enjoys good relations with Riyadh, Tehran, and Washington, as was the case of the caretaker Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi. Abdil Mahdi had been supported by Washington and yet, a year later, it was he who presented a draft proposal to the Iraqi Parliament demanding the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Iraq.

Al-Kazemi, who promised to support the “Popular Mobilisation Forces” (hashd al-Shaabi), agreed to seek the removal of all US forces from Iraq, as stipulated in the binding constitutional decision of the Iraqi Parliament. Tehran convinced its ally, Kataeb Hezbollah al-Iraq, which had publicly accused Al-Kazemi of responsibility for the assassination of Commander Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, to accept al-Kazemi as a Prime Minister and wait to see his actions before judging him. The price of the assassination of Soleimani and Muhandes is the total withdrawal of the US forces from Iraq, and not al-Kazemi.

This time – after three failed attempts to nominate a prime minister  – Al-Kazemi will be supported to form his cabinet and will have the parliamentary support needed. However, he will face severe difficulties and challenges.

The US is redeploying its forces and not showing any intention of complete withdrawal. Al-Kazemi will not be able to seek an easy US withdrawal and won’t be able to disarm Iraqi organizations as he promised to do. Moreover, he will face a real economic problem because Iraq suffers from a low oil price and external debts. The income of Iraq is just over 30 billion dollars whereas it needs 80 billion to pay salaries and maintain the infrastructure as it is. Al-Kazemi will not be able to respond to demands from the street because he simply does not have enough money.

Iran is not afraid of who sits at the top of the Iraqi government; today’s friend may turn out to be tomorrow’s enemy. Tehran enjoys enough connections with political leaders and military commanders and heads of organizations in Iraq. Iran has experienced an aggressive Prime Minister in the past, Haidar Abadi, and managed its way in Iraq, a country sensitive to a balance among its political leaders. The US doesn’t have enough leverage in Iraq to match the leverage of Iran.

*(Top image: Iraqi PM, Mustafa Al-Kazemi (L), Iran’s Admiral Ali Shamkhani (R).)

Via American Herald Tribune

Indian Point Remains Open For The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

A pandemic is the wrong time to shut down NYC’s top source of electricity

By Robert Bryce

April 6, 2020 | 8:48pm

The devastation being wrought by the coronavirus has underscored two undeniable facts. First: We were woefully unprepared for a black-swan event like this pandemic. Second: Modern society — our medical system, in particular — is completely dependent on the electric grid.

What if New York’s electric grid were to be hit by another black swan during the pandemic, triggering blackouts across significant parts of the city?

That terrifying thought is relevant now because the city’s single most important source of electricity — the Indian Point Energy Center, which sits about 40 miles due north of Times Square in Westchester County— is being permanently shuttered.

By the end of this month, one of the two reactors at the 2,069-megawatt facility will stop producing power. The remaining reactor will be shut down next April.

–– ADVERTISEMENT ––

This is the exact wrong time to be closing Indian Point, which by itself reliably provides about 25 percent of the electricity consumed in New York City. Closing the plant will reduce the resilience of New York’s electric grid and increase the state’s reliance on natural gas for electricity production.

What if gas supplies were suddenly stopped or reduced due to an accident, terrorism or a cyberattack? (Recall, too, that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been blocking new gas pipelines for years.)

Renewable-energy advocates have repeatedly claimed wind and solar energy can supplant Indian Point’s juice output. Yet due to ferocious opposition from rural towns and counties, very little onshore wind-energy capacity is being built in the state.

Offshore wind has potential, but building enough capacity to replace Indian Point could take decades. And what would happen if those wind turbines were destroyed by a hurricane?

The decision to prematurely shutter the nuclear plant was a victory for environmental groups — including Riverkeeper and the Natural Resources Defense Council — which repeatedly claimed Indian Point was unsafe and that the 16 terawatt-hours of carbon-free electricity it produces every year could be replaced by renewables and increases in efficiency.

The groups convinced Cuomo of that, and three years ago, he announced the plan to close Indian Point. At the time, he declared that when the plant closes, “New Yorkers can sleep a little better.” Last year, Cuomo signed into law a bill that requires 70 percent of the state’s electricity be derived from renewables by 2030.

Today, our hospitals are being flooded with sick people who need ventilators and other electricity-dependent equipment to stay alive. If you were one of those virus-stricken patients, what would you choose to power your ventilator? Solar panels and wind turbines or a 2,000-megawatt nuclear plant?

The essential point here is that electric grids — particularly those in densely populated cities like New York — should not be too reliant on any one thing, be it a transformer, transmission line, fuel source or generation facility.

And yet, that is exactly what is happening: New York is concentrating its risks on a single fuel: natural gas.

In 2018, I was lucky to get a tour of Indian Point. I walked through the hangar-like turbine hall of the Unit 2 reactor. After seeing it up close, I became convinced that Indian Point is one of New York’s most valuable assets.

It’s a marvel of engineering and ingenuity that should be appreciated alongside other iconic landmarks, like the Hoover Dam. Alas, the workers at Indian Point have already begun reducing the power output of Unit 2 in anticipation of the April 30 shutdown.

New Yorkers take cheap, abundant, reliable electricity as a given. Yet the coronavirus proves that black swans can have calamitous impacts on modern societies.

Amid the current devastation, Cuomo should immediately order that Indian Point remain online to help assure the reliability of electric supplies. And New Yorkers must hope that another black swan doesn’t alight on the electric grid and, in doing so, turn the current crisis into an even greater catastrophe.

Robert Bryce is the author of “A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations,” published last month by PublicAffairs, and producer of the documentary “Juice: How Electricity Explains the World,”available on iTunes on June 2.

Iran To Unveil Its Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8:4)

Iran To Unveil 122 Nuclear Achievements After Coronavirus Passes

Iran has postponed the unveiling of 122 new achievements of the country’s nuclear scientists on the occasion of the National Nuclear Technology Day planned for April 8, due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

“The new achievements include a series of products with medical, industrial and energy application, including a number of radiopharmaceuticals for curing cancer, nuclear propulsion systems for ships and submarines, as well as high and medium-power lasers with industrial use,” Behrouz Kamalvandi, Spokesperson for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), told the Iranian state news channel IRINN on Wednesday.

Kamalvandi noted that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ordered to delay of the unveiling ceremony as the Middle Eastern nation struggles to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Iran has synthesized 42 new deuterated compounds that are used in the pharmaceutical industry and in research, Kamalvandi revealed, bringing the total number of deuterated materials to 150. The accomplishment, he said, positions Iran as one of the world’s top four or five nations in the field, adding that the country had already begun exporting such materials.

In addition, he explained that Iran has no restrictions in the area of nuclear research and development and said it has the freedom to manufacture various types of centrifuge machines in any quantity.

“We are manufacturing 60 advanced centrifuges every day. With the current trend in (uranium) enrichment, achieving 250,000 SWUs will be definitely at hand, but we are planning to reach one million SWUs,” Kamalvandi went on to say.

Meanwhile, the head of AEOI, Ali Akbar Salehi, said on April 8 that the Islamic Republic’s nuclear activities were continuing despite the spread of the novel coronavirus throughout the country, Radio Farda reported.

A new generation of centrifuges would soon come online at the Natanz fuel enrichment plant“, Salehi said, adding that Tehran’s nuclear activities were solely for peaceful purposes.

Earlier on April 5, Iran’s Etemaad newspaper quoted Salehi as saying: “Iran’s enriched uranium production and stockpile are now as high as pre-JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) period. Heavy water storage is being carried out without any restrictions. The process of building Arak’s heavy water research reactor is advancing in cooperation with foreign parties.”

Salehi also noted that with the assistance of Russian experts, work on constructing two new nuclear reactors in the Iranian port city of Bushehr was now underway.

On March 30, the Trump administration renewed several waivers on US sanctions against Iran, allowing Russian, European and Chinese companies to continue work on Iran’s civilian nuclear facilities without facing penalties.

Meanwhile, the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security announced in a recent report that “based on documents in the Iran Nuclear Archive, seized by Israel in early 2018, Iran’s Amad Plan created the Shahid Mahallati Uranium Metals Workshop near Tehran to research and develop uranium metallurgy related to building nuclear weapons.”

“The facility was intended as a pilot plant, aimed at developing and making uranium components for nuclear weapons, in particular components from weapon-grade uranium, the key nuclear explosive material in Iranian nuclear weapon cores,” the institute disclosed on April 8.

The Amad Plan refers to Iran’s alleged roadmap to developing a nuclear weapon. The site was meant to be temporary until the production-scale Shahid Boroujerdi facility at Parchin was completed, the report added.

Despite pandemic, Israeli forces drop herbicide outside the Temple Walls(Revelation 11)

Despite pandemic, Israeli forces drop herbicide on Gaza and shoot at fishermen

KateApril 11, 2020

PCHR: In new Israeli violation, Israeli naval forces wound 2 fishermen in northern Gaza sea

BEIT LAHIA 9 Apr — Israeli naval forces continue their attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea preventing them from sailing and fishing freely, accessing the zones rich in fish, despite the fact that fishermen posed no threat to the lives of Israeli naval forces deployed in Gaza waters … According to the investigations of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), at approximately 07:50 on Thursday, 09 April 2020, Israeli gunboats stationed northwest of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within the allowed fishing area (3 nautical miles) and opened fire at a fishing boat. As a result, two fishermen, Obai ‘Adel Mohamed Jarbou‘ (21) and Ahmed ‘Abed al-Fattah Ahmed al-Sharfi (23), were shot and injured with rubber-coated steel bullets. The young men, from al-Shati’ [‘Beach’] camp in Gaza City, were taken to the Indonesian Hospital, where their injuries were classified as minor. It should be noted that Israeli gunboats conduct daily chases of Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, and open fire at them in order to terrify them and prevent them from sailing and accessing the zones rich in fish.

The latest Israeli naval forces’ attack was on Wednesday, 08 April 2020, as Israeli gunboats stationed northwest of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within the allowed fishing area (3 nautical miles) and opened fire at a fishing boat. As a result, a fisherman was shot and injured.

PCHR: In New Israeli Violation, Israeli Naval Forces Wound 2 Fishermen in Northern Gaza Sea

Report: 17 Israeli violations against Gaza fishermen

6 Apr by Ali Salam — The Gaza-based Palestinian Agricultural Union issued on Sunday a report outlining the amount of Israeli naval forces violations against Gaza fishermen, during March of 2020. According to the Department of Lobbying and Advocacy of the Palestinian Agricultural Union, Israeli naval forces, off the coast of Gaza, committed 17 violations against Gaza fishermen, last month. The department’s records suggested that among those violations were opening heavy fire, unleashing waste water cannons and ruining fishing nets. The violations also included damaging two boats, belonging to two different fishermen from Gaza City. The non-governmental agricultural organization also noted that the recent amount of violations against fishermen came while Palestinian fishermen and many other categories of Palestinian workers are coping with the spread of the coronavirus worldwide, by following the precautions put forth by concerned health bodies, as many of those fishermen stay indoors to protect themselves. Compliance by fishermen has been noted widely, despite the fact that fishing is the only source of income for them to provide for their families, with the Gaza Strip having been subject to a crippling Israeli blockade, for 13 years now.

Rights groups call on Israel to halt herbicide spraying in Gaza Strip during coronavirus outbreak

HAIFA, Tuesday, April 7, 2020 (WAFA) – Gisha–Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and Adalah–The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel sent an urgent letter to Israeli authorities yesterday demanding an immediate halt to Israel’s aerial herbicide spraying in the eastern Gaza Strip as Palestinians in Gaza desperately fight to keep coronavirus at bay and prevent its outbreak into the wider population. On Sunday morning, Israeli crop-duster planes flew along the perimeter fence separating Gaza and Israel, spraying chemicals assumed to be herbicides. The spraying was conducted sporadically starting at 6:30 AM and lasted for almost three hours, first spraying the eastern parts of the Gaza City district, before commencing southward over the eastern areas of the Central Gaza district. The sprayed chemicals reached Palestinian farmlands in both districts, and the impact on crops will become apparent in the coming days. Palestinian farmers who were working the land east of the perimeter fence on Sunday morning told Al Mezan that at about 6:20 AM, they saw plumes of black smoke emanating from Israel’s side of the fence, a practice used by Israel in the past as a means to discern wind direction. A few minutes later, crop-duster planes flew along the perimeter fence spraying chemicals believed to be herbicides that were carried by the winds into the Gaza Strip. Similar rounds of spraying were carried out earlier this year, 14-16 January 2020, in areas adjacent to the fence from Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza to Rafah in the south …  Al Mezan’s documentation however indicated that the sprayed chemicals damaged crops at a distance of at least 600 meters from the perimeter fence, with the total area of damage to cultivated land surpassing 280 hectares. At least 350 Palestinian farmers sustained financial losses, collectively exceeding $1 million, from the January spraying ….data collected on the impact of aerial herbicide spraying since the practice was first recorded in 2014 strongly indicates that the spraying poses a serious threat to the right to life as it directly undermines food security and health

The Main Cause of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Indian Point Energy Center

Nuclear power plant in Buchanan, New York

Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC) is a three-unit nuclear power plant station located in Buchanan, New York, just south of Peekskill. It sits on the east bank of the Hudson River, about 36 miles (58 km) north of Midtown Manhattan. The plant generates over 2,000 megawatts (MWe) of electrical power. For reference, the record peak energy consumption of New York City and Westchester County (the ConEdison Service Territory) was set during a seven-day heat wave on July 19, 2013, at 13,322 megawatts.[3] Electrical energy consumption varies greatly with time of day and season.[4]

Quick Facts: Country, Location …

The plant is owned and operated by Entergy Nuclear Northeast, a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation, and includes two operating Westinghouse pressurized water reactors—designated “Indian Point 2” and “Indian Point 3″—which Entergy bought from Consolidated Edison and the New York Power Authority respectively. The facility also contains the permanently shut-down Indian Point Unit 1 reactor. As of 2015, the number of permanent jobs at the Buchanan plant is approximately 1,000.

The original 40-year operating licenses for units 2 and 3 expired in September 2013 and December 2015, respectively. Entergy had applied for license extensions and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was moving toward granting a twenty-year extension for each reactor. However, after pressure from local environmental groups and New York governor Andrew Cuomo, it was announced that the plant is scheduled to be shut down by 2021.[5] Local groups had cited increasingly frequent issues with the aging units, ongoing environmental releases, and the proximity of the plant to New York City.[6]

Reactors

History and design

The reactors are built on land that originally housed the Indian Point Amusement Park, but was acquired by Consolidated Edison (ConEdison) on October 14, 1954.[7] Indian Point 1, built by ConEdison, was a 275-megawatt Babcock & Wilcox supplied [8] pressurized water reactor that was issued an operating license on March 26, 1962 and began operations on September 16, 1962.[9] The first core used a thorium-based fuel with stainless steel cladding, but this fuel did not live up to expectations for core life.[10] The plant was operated with uranium dioxide fuel for the remainder of its life. The reactor was shut down on October 31, 1974, because the emergency core cooling system did not meet regulatory requirements. All spent fuel was removed from the reactor vessel by January 1976, but the reactor still stands.[11] The licensee, Entergy, plans to decommission Unit 1 when Unit 2 is decommissioned.[12]

The two additional reactors, Indian Point 2 and 3, are four-loop Westinghouse pressurized water reactors both of similar design. Units 2 and 3 were completed in 1974 and 1976, respectively. Unit 2 has a generating capacity of 1,032 MW, and Unit 3 has a generating capacity of 1,051 MW. Both reactors use uranium dioxide fuel of no more than 4.8% U-235 enrichment. The reactors at Indian Point are protected by containment domes made of steel-reinforced concrete that is 40 inches thick, with a carbon steel liner.[13]

Nuclear capacity in New York state

Units 2 and 3 are two of six operating nuclear energy sources in New York State. New York is one of the five largest states in terms of nuclear capacity and generation, accounting for approximately 5% of the national totals. Indian Point provides 39% of the state’s nuclear capacity. Nuclear power produces 34.2% of the state’s electricity, higher than the U.S. average of 20.6%. In 2017, Indian Point generated approximately 10% of the state’s electricity needs, and 25% of the electricity used in New York City and Westchester County.[14] Its contract with Consolidated Edison is for just 560 megawatts. The New York Power Authority, which built Unit 3, stopped buying electricity from Indian Point in 2012. NYPA supplies the subways, airports, and public schools and housing in NYC and Westchester County. Entergy sells the rest of Indian Point’s output into the NYISO administered electric wholesale markets and elsewhere in New England.[15][16][17][18] In 2013, New York had the fourth highest average electricity prices in the United States. Half of New York’s power demand is in the New York City region; about two-fifths of generation originates there.[19][20]

Refueling

The currently operating Units 2 and 3 are each refueled on a two-year cycle. At the end of each fuel cycle, one unit is brought offline for refueling and maintenance activities. On March 2, 2015, Indian Point 3 was taken offline for 23 days to perform its refueling operations. Entergy invested $50 million in the refueling and other related projects for Unit 3, of which $30 million went to employee salaries. The unit was brought back online on March 25, 2015.[21]

Effects

Economic impact

A June 2015 report by a lobby group called Nuclear Energy Institute found that the operation of Indian Point generates $1.3 billion of annual economic output in local counties, $1.6 billion statewide, and $2.5 billion across the United States. In 2014, Entergy paid $30 million in state and local property taxes. The total tax revenue (direct and secondary) was nearly $340 million to local, state, and federal governments.[15] According to the Village of Buchanan budget for 2016–2017, a payment in lieu of taxes in the amount of $2.62 million was received in 2015-2016, and was projected to be $2.62 million in 2016–2017 – the majority of which can be assumed to come from the Indian Point Energy Center.[22]

Over the last decade, the station has maintained a capacity factor of greater than 93 percent. This is consistently higher than the nuclear industry average and than other forms of generation. The reliability helps offset the severe price volatility of other energy sources (e.g., natural gas) and the indeterminacy of renewable electricity sources (e.g., solar, wind).[15]

Indian Point directly employs about 1,000 full-time workers. This employment creates another 2,800 jobs in the five-county region, and 1,600 in other industries in New York, for a total of 5,400 in-state jobs. Additionally, another 5,300 indirect jobs are created out of state, creating a sum total of 10,700 jobs throughout the United States.[15]

Environmental concerns

Environmentalists have expressed concern about increased carbon emissions with the impending shutdown of Indian Point (generating electricity with nuclear energy creates no carbon emissions). A study undertaken by Environmental Progress found that closure of the plant would cause power emissions to jump 29% in New York, equivalent to the emissions from 1.4 million additional cars on New York roads.[23]

Some environmental groups have expressed concerns about the operation of Indian Point, including radiation pollution and endangerment of wildlife, but whether Indian Point has ever posed a significant danger to wildlife or the public remains controversial. Though anti-nuclear group Riverkeeper notes “Radioactive leakage from the plant containing several radioactive isotopes, such as strontium-90, cesium-137, cobalt-60, nickel-63 and tritium, a rarely-occurring isotope of hydrogen, has flowed into groundwater that eventually enters the Hudson River in the past[24], there is no evidence radiation from the plant has ever posed a significant hazard to local residents or wildlife. In the last year[when?], nine tritium leaks have occurred, however, even at their highest levels the leaks have never exceeded one-tenth of one percent of US Nuclear Regulatory Commission limits.

In February 2016, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo called for a full investigation by state environment[25] and health officials and is partnering with organizations like Sierra Club, Riverkeepers, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, Scenic Hudson and Physicians for Social Responsibility in seeking the permanent closure of the plant.[citation needed] However, Cuomo’s motivation for closing the plant was called into question after it was revealed two top former aides, under federal prosecution for influence-peddling, had lobbied on behalf of natural gas company Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) to kill Indian Point. In his indictment, US attorney Preet Bharara wrote “the importance of the plant [CPV’s proposed Valley Energy Center, a plant powered by natural gas] to the State depended at least in part, on whether [Indian Point] was going to be shut down.”[26]

In April 2016 climate scientist James Hansen took issue with calls to shut the plant down, including those from presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. “The last few weeks have seen an orchestrated campaign to mislead the people of New York about the essential safety and importance of Indian Point nuclear plant to address climate change,” wrote Hansen, adding “Sanders has offered no evidence that NRC [U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission] has failed to do its job, and he has no expertise in over-riding NRC’s judgement. For the sake of future generations who could be harmed by irreversible climate change, I urge New Yorkers to reject this fear mongering and uphold science against ideology.”[27]

Indian Point removes water from the nearby Hudson River. Despite the use of fish screens, the cooling system kills over a billion fish eggs and larvae annually.[28] According to one NRC report from 2010, as few as 38% of alewives survive the screens.[29] On September 14, 2015, a state hearing began in regards to the deaths of fish in the river, and possibly implementing a shutdown period from May to August. An Indian Point spokesman stated that such a period would be unnecessary, as Indian Point “is fully protective of life in the Hudson River and $75 million has been spent over the last 30 years on scientific studies demonstrating that the plant has no harmful impact to adult fish.” The hearings lasted three weeks.[30] Concerns were also raised over the planned building of new cooling towers, which would cut down forest land that is suspected to be used as breeding ground by muskrat and mink. At the time of the report, no minks or muskrats were spotted there.[29]

Safety

Indian Point Energy Center has been given an incredible amount of scrutiny from the media and politicians and is regulated more heavily than various other power plants in the state of New York (i.e., by the NRC in addition to FERC, the NYSPSC, the NYISO, the NYSDEC, and the EPA). On a forced outage basis – incidents related to electrical equipment failure that force a plant stoppage – it provides a much more reliable operating history than most other power plants in New York.[31][32] Beginning at the end of 2015, Governor Cuomo began to ramp up political action against the Indian Point facility, opening an investigation with the state public utility commission, the department of health, and the department of environmental conservation.[33][34][35][30][36][37] To put the public service commission investigation in perspective: most electric outage investigations conducted by the commission are in response to outages with a known number of affected retail electric customers.[38] By November 17, 2017, the NYISO accepted Indian Point’s retirement notice.[39]

In 1997, Indian Point Unit 3 was removed from the NRC’s list of plants that receive increased attention from the regulator. An engineer for the NRC noted that the plant had been experiencing increasingly fewer problems during inspections.[40] On March 10, 2009 the Indian Point Power Plant was awarded the fifth consecutive top safety rating for annual operations by the Federal regulators. According to the Hudson Valley Journal News, the plant had shown substantial improvement in its safety culture in the previous two years.[41] A 2003 report commissioned by then-Governor George Pataki concluded that the “current radiological response system and capabilities are not adequate to…protect the people from an unacceptable dose of radiation in the event of a release from Indian Point”.[42] More recently, in December 2012 Entergy commissioned a 400-page report on the estimates of evacuation times. This report, performed by emergency planning company KLD Engineering, concluded that the existing traffic management plans provided by Orange, Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester Counties are adequate and require no changes.[43] According to one list that ranks U.S. nuclear power plants by their likelihood of having a major natural disaster related incident, Indian Point is the most likely to be hit by a natural disaster, mainly an earthquake.[44][45][46][47] Despite this, the owners of the plant still say that safety is a selling point for the nuclear power plant.[48]

Incidents

▪ In 1973, five months after Indian Point 2 opened, the plant was shut down when engineers discovered buckling in the steel liner of the concrete dome in which the nuclear reactor is housed.[49]

▪ On October 17, 1980,[50] 100,000 gallons of Hudson River water leaked into the Indian Point 2 containment building from the fan cooling unit, undetected by a safety device designed to detect hot water. The flooding, covering the first nine feet of the reactor vessel, was discovered when technicians entered the building. Two pumps that should have removed the water were found to be inoperative. NRC proposed a $2,100,000 fine for the incident.

▪ In February 2000, Unit 2 experienced a Steam Generator Tube Rupture (SGTR), which allowed primary water to leak into the secondary system through one of the steam generators.[51] All four steam generators were subsequently replaced.[citation needed]

▪ In 2005, Entergy workers while digging discovered a small leak in a spent fuel pool. Water containing tritium and strontium-90 was leaking through a crack in the pool building and then finding its way into the nearby Hudson River. Workers were able to keep the spent fuel rods safely covered despite the leak.[52] On March 22, 2006 The New York Times also reported finding radioactive nickel-63 and strontium in groundwater on site.[53]

▪ In 2007, a transformer at Unit 3 caught fire, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission raised its level of inspections, because the plant had experienced many unplanned shutdowns. According to The New York Times, Indian Point “has a history of transformer problems”.[54]

▪ On April 23, 2007, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission fined the owner of the Indian Point nuclear plant $130,000 for failing to meet a deadline for a new emergency siren plan. The 150 sirens at the plant are meant to alert residents within 10 miles to a plant emergency.[55]

▪ On January 7, 2010, NRC inspectors reported that an estimated 600,000 gallons of mildly radioactive steam was intentionally vented to the atmosphere after an automatic shutdown of Unit 2. After the vent, one of the vent valves unintentionally remained slightly open for two days. The levels of tritium in the steam were within the allowable safety limits defined in NRC standards.[56]

▪ On November 7, 2010, an explosion occurred in a main transformer for Indian Point 2, spilling oil into the Hudson River.[57] Entergy later agreed to pay a $1.2 million penalty for the transformer explosion.[54]

▪ July 2013, a former supervisor, who worked at the Indian Point nuclear power plant for twenty-nine years, was arrested for falsifying the amount of particulate in the diesel fuel for the plant’s backup generators.[58]

▪ On May 9, 2015, a transformer failed at Indian Point 3, causing the automated shutdown of reactor 3. A fire that resulted from the failure was extinguished, and the reactor was placed in a safe and stable condition.[59] The failed transformer contained about 24,000 gallons of dielectric fluid, which is used as an insulator and coolant when the transformer is energized. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that about 3,000 gallons of dielectric fluid entered the river following the failure.[60]

▪ In June 2015, a mylar balloon floated into a switchyard, causing an electrical problem resulting in the shutdown of Reactor 3.[61]

▪ In July 2015, Reactor 3 was shut down after a water pump failure.[citation needed]

▪ On December 5, 2015, Indian Point 2 was shut down after several control rods lost power.[62]

▪ On February 6, 2016, Governor Andrew Cuomo informed the public that radioactive tritium-contaminated water leaked into the groundwater at the Indian Point Nuclear facility.[25]

Spent fuel

Indian Point stores used fuel rods in two spent fuel pools at the facility.[52] The spent fuel pools at Indian Point are not stored under a containment dome like the reactor, but rather they are contained within an indoor 40-foot-deep pool and submerged under 27 feet of water. Water is a natural and effective barrier to radiation. The spent fuel pools at Indian Point are set in bedrock and are constructed of concrete walls that are four to six feet wide, with a quarter-inch thick stainless steel inner liner. The pools each have multiple redundant backup cooling systems.[52][63]

Indian Point began dry cask storage of spent fuel rods in 2008, which is a safe and environmentally sound option according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.[64] Some rods have already been moved to casks from the spent fuel pools. The pools will be kept nearly full of spent fuel, leaving enough space to allow emptying the reactor completely.[65] Dry cask storage systems are designed to resist floods, tornadoes, projectiles, temperature extremes, and other unusual scenarios. The NRC requires the spent fuel to be cooled and stored in the spent fuel pool for at least five years before being transferred to dry casks.[66]

Earthquake risk

In 2008, researchers from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory located a previously unknown active seismic zone running from Stamford, Connecticut, to the Hudson Valley town of Peekskill, New York—the intersection of the Stamford-Peekskill line with the well-known Ramapo Fault—which passes less than a mile north of the Indian Point nuclear power plant.[67] The Ramapo Fault is the longest fault in the Northeast, but scientists dispute how active this roughly 200-million-year-old fault really is. Many earthquakes in the state’s surprisingly varied seismic history are believed to have occurred on or near it. Visible at ground level, the fault line likely extends as deep as nine miles below the surface.[68]

In July 2013, Entergy engineers reassessed the risk of seismic damage to Unit 3 and submitted their findings in a report to the NRC. It was found that risk leading to reactor core damage is 1 in 106,000 reactor years using U.S. Geological Survey data; and 1 in 141,000 reactor years using Electric Power Research Institute data. Unit 3’s previous owner, the New York Power Authority, had conducted a more limited analysis in the 1990s than Unit 2’s previous owner, Con Edison, leading to the impression that Unit 3 had fewer seismic protections than Unit 2. Neither submission of data from the previous owners was incorrect.[69]

According to a company spokesman, Indian Point was built to withstand an earthquake of 6.1 on the Richter scale.[70] Entergy executives have also noted “that Indian Point had been designed to withstand an earthquake much stronger than any on record in the region, though not one as powerful as the quake that rocked Japan.”[71]

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at Indian Point was Reactor 2: 1 in 30,303; Reactor 3: 1 in 10,000, according to an NRC study published in August 2010. Msnbc.com reported based on the NRC data that “Indian Point nuclear reactor No. 3 has the highest risk of earthquake damage in the country, according to new NRC risk estimates provided to msnbc.com.” According to the report, the reason is that plants in known earthquake zones like California were designed to be more quake-resistant than those in less affected areas like New York.[72][73] The NRC did not dispute the numbers but responded in a release that “The NRC results to date should not be interpreted as definitive estimates of seismic risk,” because the NRC does not rank plants by seismic risk.[74]

IPEC Units 2 and 3 both operated at 100% full power before, during, and after the Virginia earthquake on August 23, 2011. A thorough inspection of both units by plant personnel immediately following this event verified no significant damage occurred at either unit.

Emergency planning

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission defines two emergency planning zones around nuclear power plants: a plume exposure pathway zone with a radius of 10 miles (16 km), concerned primarily with exposure to, and inhalation of, airborne radioactive contamination, and an ingestion pathway zone of about 50 miles (80 km), concerned primarily with ingestion of food and liquid contaminated by radioactivity.[75]

According to an analysis of U.S. Census data for MSNBC, the 2010 U.S. population within 10 miles (16 km) of Indian Point was 272,539, an increase of 17.6 percent during the previous ten years. The 2010 U.S. population within 50 miles (80 km) was 17,220,895, an increase of 5.1 percent since 2000. Cities within 50 miles include New York (41 miles to city center); Bridgeport, Conn. (40 miles); Newark, N.J. (39 miles); and Stamford, Conn. (24 miles).[76]

In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima incident in Japan, the State Department recommended that any Americans in Japan stay beyond fifty miles from the area.[citation needed] Columnist Peter Applebome, writing in The New York Times, noted that such an area around Indian Point would include “almost all of New York City except for Staten Island; almost all of Nassau County and much of Suffolk County; all of Bergen County, N.J.; all of Fairfield, Conn.” He quotes Purdue University professor Daniel Aldrich as saying “Many scholars have already argued that any evacuation plans shouldn’t be called plans, but rather “fantasy documents””.[42]

The current 10-mile plume-exposure pathway Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) is one of two EPZs intended to facilitate a strategy for protective action during an emergency and comply with NRC regulations. “The exact size and shape of each EPZ is a result of detailed planning which includes consideration of the specific conditions at each site, unique geographical features of the area, and demographic information. This preplanned strategy for an EPZ provides a substantial basis to support activity beyond the planning zone in the extremely unlikely event it would be needed.”[77]

In an interview, Entergy executives said they doubt that the evacuation zone would be expanded to reach as far as New York City.[71]

Indian Point is protected by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, including a National Guard base within a mile of the facility, as well as by private off-site security forces.[78]

During the September 11 attacks, American Airlines Flight 11 flew near the Indian Point Energy Center en route to the World Trade Center. Mohamed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers/plotters, had considered nuclear facilities for targeting in a terrorist attack.[79] Entergy says it is prepared for a terrorist attack, and asserts that a large airliner crash into the containment building would not cause reactor damage.[80] Following 9/11 the NRC required operators of nuclear facilities in the U.S. to examine the effects of terrorist events and provide planned responses.[81] In September 2006, the Indian Point Security Department successfully completed mock assault exercises required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.[citation needed] However, according to environmental group Riverkeeper, these NRC exercises are inadequate because they do not envision a sufficiently large group of attackers.[citation needed]

According to The New York Times, fuel stored in dry casks is less vulnerable to terrorist attack than fuel in the storage pools.[65]

Recertification

Units 2 and 3 were both originally licensed by the NRC for 40 years of operation. The NRC limits commercial power reactor licenses to an initial 40 years, but also permits such licenses to be renewed. This original 40-year term for reactor licenses was based on economic and antitrust considerations, not on limitations of nuclear technology. Due to this selected period, however, some structures and components may have been engineered on the basis of an expected 40-year service life.[82] The original federal license for Unit Two expired on September 28, 2013,[83][84] and the license for Unit Three was due to expire in December 2015.[85] On April 30, 2007, Entergy submitted an application for a 20-year renewal of the licenses for both units. On May 2, 2007, the NRC announced that this application is available for public review.[86] Because the owner submitted license renewal applications at least five years prior to the original expiration date, the units are allowed to continue operation past this date while the NRC considers the renewal application.

On September 23, 2007, the antinuclear group Friends United for Sustainable Energy (FUSE) filed legal papers with the NRC opposing the relicensing of the Indian Point 2 reactor. The group contended that the NRC improperly held Indian Point to less stringent design requirements. The NRC responded that the newer requirements were put in place after the plant was complete.[87]

On December 1, 2007, Westchester County Executive Andrew J. Spano, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, and New York Governor Eliot Spitzer called a press conference with the participation of environmental advocacy groups Clearwater and Riverkeeper to announce their united opposition to the re-licensing of the Indian Point nuclear power plants. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of the Attorney General requested a hearing as part of the process put forth by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.[citation needed] In September 2007 The New York Times reported on the rigorous legal opposition Entergy faces in its request for a 20-year licensing extension for Indian Point Nuclear Reactor 2.[87]

A water quality certificate is a prerequisite for a twenty-year renewal by the NRC.[citation needed] On April 3, 2010, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ruled that Indian Point violates the federal Clean Water Act,[88] because “the power plant’s water-intake system kills nearly a billion aquatic organisms a year, including the shortnose sturgeon, an endangered species.”[citation needed] The state is demanding that Entergy constructs new closed-cycle cooling towers at a cost of over $1 billion, a decision that will effectively close the plant for nearly a year. Regulators denied Entergy’s request to install fish screens that they said would improve fish mortality more than new cooling towers. Anti-nuclear groups and environmentalists have in the past tried to close the plant,[citation needed] which is in a more densely populated area than any of the 66 other nuclear plant sites in the US.[citation needed] Opposition to the plant[from whom?] increased after the September 2001 terror attacks,[citation needed] when one of the hijacked jets flew close to the plant on its way to the World Trade Center.[citation needed] Public worries also increased after the 2011 Japanese Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and after a report highlighting the Indian Point plant’s proximity to the Ramapo Fault.[citation needed]

Advocates of recertifying Indian Point include former New York City mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rudolph W. Giuliani. Bloomberg says that “Indian Point is critical to the city’s economic viability”.[89] The New York Independent System Operator maintains that in the absence of Indian Point, grid voltages would degrade, which would limit the ability to transfer power from upstate New York resources through the Hudson Valley to New York City.[90]

As the current governor, Andrew Cuomo continues to call for closure of Indian Point.[91] In late June 2011, a Cuomo advisor in a meeting with Entergy executives informed them for the first time directly of the Governor’s intention to close the plant, while the legislature approved a bill to streamline the process of siting replacement plants.[92]

Nuclear energy industry figures and analysts responded to Cuomo’s initiative by questioning whether replacement electrical plants could be certified and built rapidly enough to replace Indian Point, given New York state’s “cumbersome regulation process”, and also noted that replacement power from out of state sources will be hard to obtain because New York has weak ties to generation capacity in other states.[citation needed] They said that possible consequences of closure will be a sharp increase in the cost of electricity for downstate users and even “rotating black-outs”.[93]

Several members of the House of Representatives representing districts near the plant have also opposed recertification, including Democrats Nita Lowey, Maurice Hinchey, and Eliot Engel and then Republican member Sue Kelly.[94]

In November 2016 the New York Court of Appeals ruled that the application to renew the NRC operating licences must be reviewed against the state’s coastal management program, which The New York State Department of State had already decided was inconsistent with coastal management requirements. Entergy has filed a lawsuit regarding the validity of Department of State’s decision.[95]

Closure

Beginning at the end of 2015, Governor Cuomo began to ramp up political action against the Indian Point facility, opening investigations with the state public utility commission, the department of health and the department of environmental conservation.[33][34][35][30][36][37] To put the public service commission investigation in perspective, most electric outage investigations conducted by the commission are in response to outages with a known number of affected retail electric customers.[38] By November 17, 2017, the NYISO accepted Indian Point’s retirement notice.[39]

In January 2017, the governor’s office announced closure by 2020-21.[96] The closure, along with pollution control, challenges New York’s ability to be supplied.[citation needed] Among the solution proposals are storage, renewables (solar and wind), a new transmission cables from Canada [97][98] and a 650MW natural gas plant located in Wawayanda, New York.[99] There was also a 1,000 MW merchant HVDC transmission line proposed in 2013 to the public service commission that would have interconnected at Athens, New York and Buchanan, New York, however this project was indefinitely stalled when its proposed southern converter station site was bought by the Town of Cortlandt in a land auction administered by Con Edison.[100][101][102] As of October 1, 2018, the 650 MW plant built in Wawayanda, New York, by CPV Valley, is operating commercially.[103] The CPV Valley plant has been associated with Governor Cuomo’s close aid, Joe Percoco, and the associated corruption trial.[104] Another plant being built, Cricket Valley Energy Center, rated at 1,100 MW, is on schedule to provide energy by 2020 in Dover, New York.[105] An Indian Point contingency plan, initiated in 2012 by the NYSPSC under the administration of Cuomo, solicited energy solutions from which a Transmission Owner Transmission Solutions (TOTS) plan was selected. The TOTS projects provide 450 MW[106] of additional transfer capability across a NYISO defined electric transmission corridor in the form of three projects: series compensation at a station in Marcy, New York, reconductoring a transmission line, adding an additional transmission line, and “unbottling” Staten Island capacity. These projects, with the exception of part of the Staten Island “unbottling” were in service by mid-2016. The cost of the TOTS projects are distributed among various utilities in their rate cases before the public service commission and the cost allocation amongst themselves was approved by FERC. NYPA and LIPA are also receiving a portion. The cost of the TOTS projects has been estimated in the range of $27 million to $228 million.[107][108][109][110][111] An energy highway initiative was also prompted by this order (generally speaking, additional lines on the Edic-Pleasant Valley and the Oakdale-Fraser transmission corridors) which is still going through the regulatory process in both the NYISO and NYSPSC.

Under the current plan, one reactor is scheduled to be shut down in April 2020 and the second by April 2021.[112] A report by the New York Building Congress, a construction industry association, has said that NYC will need additional natural gas pipelines to accommodate the city’s increasing demand for energy. Environmentalists have argued that the power provided by Indian point can be replaced by renewable energy, combined with conservation measures and improvements to the efficiency of the electrical grid.[113]