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

Indian Point Energy CenterNuclear power plant in Buchanan, New YorkIndian 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]ReactorsHistory and designThe 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 stateUnits 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]RefuelingThe 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]EffectsEconomic impactA 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 concernsEnvironmentalists 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]SafetyIndian 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 fuelIndian 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 riskIn 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 planningThe 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]RecertificationUnits 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]ClosureBeginning 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]

Israeli military drones dropping like flies outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Israeli military drones dropping like flies in enemy territory

Army assures nothing to see here, and not concerned by third incident in 3 days

An Israeli military drone was downed on Tuesday in the southern Gaza Strip, marking the third time in the past three days that Israel lost one of its drones in enemy territory.

On Sunday, a military spokesperson reported that an army unit operating near Gaza, the Palestinian coastal enclave controlled by Hamas, lost one of the drones it was flying as part of a mission.

Hamas, designated a terror group by Jerusalem as well as the United States and European Union, has been battling Israel ever since gaining control of Gaza in 2007, including several limited rounds of combat.

Then on Monday, another Israeli drone fell into enemy hands, when army forces lost the small unmanned aircraft vehicle over Lebanon.

Initially reported by Hizbullah, the Iran-backed Shi’ite organization that controls southern Lebanon, the capture of the advanced equipment was later confirmed by Israel.

An Israeli military spokesperson told The Media Line that the drone “fell in the course of military activity,” but did not specify whether its drop was caused by a technical malfunction or by enemy interception.

“There is no concern of sensitive information being leaked,” the spokesperson said.

Israel’s military is estimated to operate many dozens of drones of different sizes and with different features, costing anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

The UAV’s ability to operate beneath radar detection level yet unnoticed by those on the ground makes it a unique and essential part of any military arsenal these days.

While this is not the first time Israel has lost a military drone midflight, the three successive events have raised concern over possible operational snags.

Hezbollah and Hamas don’t have the most advanced intercepting capabilities, defense experts told The Media Line Tuesday, but not being able to operate freely is something Israel must look into and fix as soon as possible.

“Once your drone is in the wrong hands, there is definitely useful information that can be gleaned from it,” Asaf Lebovitz, vice president of sales at Skylock, a company that designs anti-drone technology which is part of the Avnon Group, told The Media Line.

“You have forensic data: You can tell where the drone had been flying, what its course was, where it took off from inside Israel, where it was sent to gather information. It enables you to find out what the other side was interested in,” Lebovitz said.

Last month, Israel’s military used radio jamming technology to intercept a drone belonging to Hizbullah which crossed into Israeli territory. It was the second time in only a few weeks that an errant Hizbullah aircraft was downed by Israel.

An expert on anti-drone warfare told The Media Line that Israel’s current strategy to combat hostile UAV is outdated and ineffective, likening it to “firing a cannon battery on a single fly.”

“These are extremely powerful jammers, which really aren’t required in most cases,” the analyst added.

“There certainly are more elegant and surgical techniques,” Lebovitz said. “And when you’re dealing with autonomous drones that don’t have an operator, jamming isn’t effective at all.”

He details methods such as deploying an array of suicide drones, or a network of sensors which can locate an operator without disrupting and compromising urban areas, as superior strategies.

Israel detains Hamas leader outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Israel detains Hamas leader in West Bank raid

Khaled Al-Hajj detained in Israeli raid on his home in Jenin

Awad Rajoub   |

09.02.2021

RAMALLAH, Palestine

Israeli forces on Tuesday detained leading Hamas member Khaled al-Hajj in the West Bank city of Jenin, according to his wife.

“An Israeli force raided our home in Al-Jabriyat neighborhood and detained my husband,” the wife, who did not provide her name, said.

The cause of the detention remains unclear.

Al-Hajj, 55, was arrested several times before, and spent a total of 15 years in Israeli prisons.

According to Hamas sources, Al-Hajj was released from prison less than a year ago.

The Inevitable Catastrophe: Revelation 8

Compromise or catastrophe?

Ashraf Jehangir Qazi

The writer is a former ambassador to the US, India and China and head of UN missions in Iraq and Sudan.

In memory of Zainul Abedin, whom I got to know without ever having met. I knew him for his humane global patriotism – the only kind that is true. I know him now as someone I shall not forget.

The only way to gain international support for the prevention of genocidal repression in Indian Occupied Kashmir and nuclear catastrophe in South Asia is for the international community to realize the extreme gravity of the current Kashmir situation.

India and Pakistan are neighbouring nuclear weapons states. They have irreconcilable positions and mutually exclusive narratives regarding Kashmir. They have gone to war over the dispute on more than one occasion. Today, despite the Pakistan government’s clear determination not to risk another war, India’s relentless campaign of brutal repression against the majority of the Kashmiri people is setting the scene for a major conflict and catastrophe.

India insists the former State of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of it. It refers to Azad Jammu and Kashmir as Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and insists on the right to “liberate” it. Pakistan regards Jammu and Kashmir as “disputed territory.” Its disposition is to be determined by a UN conducted plebiscite to ascertain the wishes of its people in accordance with still extant UN Security Council resolutions.

India claims that Pakistan did not fulfill the conditions for holding a plebiscite and later joined Western defence pacts thereby rendering the UN resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir irrelevant. Accordingly, India insists the former Maharaja of Kashmir’s accession to India after he fled an uprising of the Kashmiri people against him was valid.

The UN Security Council, however, refused to endorse India’s contention and reiterated the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir. Nothing can derogate from the inalienable and internationally acknowledged right to self-determination of the people of Kashmir. Accordingly, the UNSG has urged the two parties to the Kashmir dispute to peacefully negotiate a settlement acceptable to the people of Kashmir. This reference to the people of Kashmir is a reiteration of their right of self-determination. Moreover, the UNSG also has discretion under Article 99 of the UN Charter to bring the matter to the attention of the UNSC if he perceives a threat to the peace. Accordingly, he needs to seriously consider doing so given the impending catastrophe.

The Kashmir dispute is not just a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan. It is even more a political and human rights issue concerning the people of the former State of Jammu and Kashmir. Accordingly, no agreement between India and Pakistan such as the Simla Agreement or the Lahore Declaration can be validly interpreted as derogating from the UN acknowledged and still unexercised rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. That would be a violation of the UN Charter.

There have been several attempts by India and Pakistan to negotiate a bilateral settlement of the Kashmir dispute. They have all foundered on India’s insistence that the whole of Jammu and Kashmir is its territory, the Kashmir dispute no longer exists, and India’s only purpose in agreeing to talks on Kashmir with Pakistan is to ask it to stop its interference in India’s internal affairs and cease its terrorist activities. As a result, all efforts at a negotiated settlement were vitiated from the outset. The only partial exception was the so-called back-channel talks of 2004-5 where a number of interim understandings were tentatively reached which may or may not have survived once they were made public.

One could argue that a negotiation stalemate need not threaten the peace between the two countries. In a longer-term context, a gradual and cumulative process of mutual cooperation and confidence and security building measures could, through their impact on public opinion in both countries, eventually bring about breakthroughs on core issues that previously eluded negotiated progress.

Whatever the merits of such arguments, they were all made irrelevant on August 5, 2019 when India split IOK into two Union Territories in flagrant violation of UN resolutions and the Simla Agreement which was rendered defunct thereby removing the basis for dialogue with Pakistan. Since the LOC derived from the Simla Agreement, it has also become moot.

An extended double lockdown, (one for security and the other in the name of the pandemic,) has been in place in the Valley for 18 months including a massive communications blackout, denial of basic services, separation of families, relocation of children, deadly night raids on homes, making laws and regulations to facilitate a demographic transformation in the Valley, etc.

Since then 150 Indian laws have been extended to IOK and 164 state laws annulled. The registration of property transactions has been shifted to the revenue department from the judiciary. Several state commissions dealing with human rights, accountability, information, etc were closed. State departments were renamed with Hindu names in a Muslim majority state. New domicile laws were promulgated to facilitate taking land from Kashmiris for non-Kashmiri settlement. So-called ‘strategic areas’ have been identified for military infrastructure and settlement. Foreign media are banned from visiting the Valley. All these actions target the political and cultural identity of the majority community in IOK which constitutes a genocide process according to the Genocide Convention.

On August 11, 2019 Genocide Watch issued a Genocide Alert warning that many of the constituent elements of a genocide process in IOK were already “far advanced.” And not an official word from the UN or the US!

The Indian government knows it cannot politically and economically placate the overwhelming majority in the Kashmir Valley, nor permanently eliminate the indigenous resistance through conventional repression. Accordingly, it has embarked upon an accelerated, comprehensive and brutal campaign against the people of the Valley that shows every sign of escalating towards genocide.

India’s arrogant attitude towards Pakistan and its assumption that the Pakistan military has no real options against it threaten an existential catastrophe. The international community, despite its pro-forma remonstrations with India on human rights violations, is in danger of losing all leverage for compromise, moderation, peace and stability in the region.

The truth is that no government in Pakistan would survive if India succeeded in ‘pacifying’ the Kashmir Valley through genocidal repression while the people of Pakistan saw their government unable or unwilling to respond effectively. Moreover, the state of Pakistan would itself be imperiled.

What is to be done? I have suggested a multi-track settlement process which, very briefly, would: (i) seek a restoration of dialogue with India on Kashmir with an agreed modality for the participation of the Kashmiri resistance; (ii) press India to alleviate the abhorrent and execrable human rights situation in IOK; (iii) support the Kashmiri freedom struggle by all legal means (which excludes any and all acts of terror) for the implementation of the UN resolutions on Kashmir; (iv) address the issue of the Azadi (independence) option vis-à-vis the two options envisaged by UN resolutions with reference to Article 257 of the constitution of Pakistan which integrates the independence and Pakistan options; (v) intensify Pakistan’s diplomacy and lawfare for a settlement which protects the human and political rights of the Kashmiris and avoids catastrophic outcomes; (vi) awaken the international community and the UN to the dire need to halt Indian atrocities in IOK; and (vii) ensure Pakistan’s international image reinforces its arguments on behalf of a principled compromise settlement that is acceptable to Indian and Pakistani opinion and, above all, Kashmiri opinion.

Resistance, including armed resistance, against the forcible denial of an internationally recognized right of self-determination and other political and human rights is a recognized right. This includes the right to receive assistance, including armed assistance, for a legitimate freedom struggle. To equate such struggle and assistance with terrorism is utter nonsense. However, it is true acts of terror as such can never be condoned even as part of a freedom struggle.

Finally, any attempt to bring about a zero-sum genocide-based solution to the Kashmir dispute in a nuclear environment is a recipe for extinction. Although principled compromise is difficult for a brutally traumatized and utterly alienated people to accept, there are paths to a positive-sum outcome.

Despite Pakistani public opinion which shares the outrage and trauma of their Kashmiri brethren, implacable realities do incline the Pakistani state to seek a win-win compromise solution. Pakistan, however, cannot continue to pretend to its own people that it is doing its all for their brutalized Kashmiri brethren when that is so far clearly not the case.

Accordingly, it needs to be made clear that should India refuse to respond to Pakistan’s realistic, reasonable and responsible diplomacy for a peacefully negotiated principled compromise all bets will be off. Moreover, should the international community choose to continue being a do-nothing pleading bystander, it will be responsible for and complicit in a likely genocide and its inevitably catastrophic consequences.

To conclude, Kashmir is no longer just a rhetorical nuclear flashpoint. India’s arrogance, great power presumption and wretched bigotry have made the situation in IOK the most urgent and immediate global security threat. The international community has a duty to respond effectively. Otherwise, it will also pay a frightful price for its dereliction.

Email: ashrafjqazi@gmail.com

Babylon the Great Extends Her Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

Why is America getting a new $100 billion nuclear weapon? – Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Construction workers toiled on the new Northrop Grumman building next to Hill Air Force base for more than a year. During that time, as CEO, Warden participated in quarterly earnings conference calls with investors, and in every one, someone asked when she expected the big contract. In the fall of 2019, analysts asked her if either a Federal Trade Commission investigation or competition from Boeing might affect the process of awarding a GBSD contract. Each time, she said she expected a deal by the fall of 2020. She made no mention of the upcoming presidential election, but everyone knew that a new administration or significant turnover in the senate could derail the GBSD if it wasn’t a done deal. Investors also quizzed her about “CapEx,” or capital expenditures, which are funds a company uses to acquire physical assets like buildings. In the January 2020 earnings call, Warden said she expected the company to spend $1.35 billion on capital expenditures in 2020, a figure inflated due to the GBSD, though she didn’t say by how much. With the new Utah property, the company was clearly spending a lot on a project it hadn’t yet been hired to do.

In May of 2020, Warden spoke at the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference, an annual investors’ event, held virtually to accommodate the pandemic. She answered questions in front of a Northrop-logo backdrop while a Bernstein analyst asked questions from a home office. In March, the federal government had passed the CARES Act, spending $2.2 trillion to try to rescue the economy from the impact of the pandemic. It was considering another bailout package. The analyst asked, delicately, if the health crisis threatened to slow down the GBSD: “Some people have speculated that, GBSD being a very large long-term program, if there is budget pressure … Are you seeing any evidence of that as a possibility, that this could take a little bit longer to push through development than perhaps we had thought?”

“We’re actually seeing quite the opposite focus, a focus on schedule and the importance of getting through the engineering phase of this program on time,” she replied. “It is important that we both get started now.”

In early July, the House Armed Services Committee debated the defense authorization bill for 2021 in a late-night session. By this time, the coronavirus had shut down huge swathes of the economy, and the United States was identifying 50,000 new cases per day. House members wore masks and sat scattered from one another in a cavernous committee room. Ro Khanna, the California Democrat who represents Silicon Valley, made a pitch from a video screen. He proposed an amendment that would transfer $1 billion—or one percent of the missile’s projected cost—away from the GBSD and into a pandemic preparedness fund.

In the ensuing discussion, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, home of F.E. Warren Air Force Base and the city of Cheyenne, which like Great Falls anticipates a GBSD windfall, countered her colleague with a string of non-sequiturs. She said the Chinese government had caused the global pandemic; that Congress needed to “hold the Chinese government accountable for this death and devastation;” and that Khanna’s plan would benefit the government of China. “It is absolutely shameful in my view,” she said of his proposal. “I don’t think the Chinese government, frankly, could imagine in their wildest dreams that they would have been able to get a member of the United States Congress to propose, in response to the pandemic, that we ought to cut a billion dollars out of our nuclear forces.” Khanna’s proposal was voted down. The House went on to pass a defense authorization bill worth $741 billion, including $1.5 billion for the GBSD to be spent in 2021 alone.

Of course, defense companies don’t expect politicians to vote for massive defense spending without encouragement, and their efforts at persuasion take several forms.

First, they hire their former clients, retired military leaders. In a 2018 report, the Project on Government Oversight, a non-partisan watchdog, counted 24 former senior defense department officials who were employed at that time by Northrop Grumman.

Second, defense contractors give money to elected officials, though not directly. A company’s employees, executives, and their family members may donate to political campaigns, as may the company’s Political Action Committees, or PACs, which are organizations set up for the purpose of making such contributions.

The non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics tracks campaign contributions by industry, tallying how much each corporation gives via these two proxy methods. The total amount the defense aeronautics industry gave to national politicians rose steadily from $8.4 million per two-year election cycle in 1990—as the Cold War ended—to a new peak of $35.3 million in the 2020 cycle. The money is liberally distributed, going to both Republicans and Democrats—51 percent to 49 percent in 2020—and spread among many campaigns.

Antichrist’s men deployed across central Iraqi cities after ‘threats’ to holy sites

PMF-affiliated militias deployed across central Iraqi cities after ‘threats’ to holy sites

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region— Members of the Peace Brigades (Saraya al Salam in Arabic) militia, followers of influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, have been deployed in droves to several Iraqi cities after receiving information about “threats” to holy sites, according to advisors to Sadr.

A statement circulated by Telegram channels affiliated with the Peace Brigades stated that “Abu Yasser,” the “jihadist aide” to Sadr, held an urgent meeting on Monday in which he declared “complete readiness” to defend holy sites, following a tweet from Sadr’s spokesperson, Saleh Muhammad al-Iraqi, about a possible threat to holy sites in Iraq.

“We have received almost certain information that there is an agreement with Baathists, ISIS [Islamic State], and infiltrators to attack some holy sites in Najaf, Holy Karbala and the capital, Baghdad,” Iraqi tweeted.

The claim follows protests in Najaf on Friday, where activists chanted “Muqtada is the enemy of Allah” – prompting Iraqi to threaten action against demonstrators.

“These slogans were issued by a group of Baathists and Daesh [ISIS] members, or people imitating the West and loving the Zionist enemy,” Iraqi said, adding “We will act in other social and legal ways, and we will make those people an example for all.”

Saraya al-Salam militia forces were deployed in the streets of Baghdad, as well as the provinces of Karbala and Najaf, according to footage shared to Telegram. Videos on Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF, or Hashd al Shaabi in Arabic) Telegram channels showed masked and armed men setting up security checkpoints to search cars in the capital.

“We will not give up on state building and its prestige…building is not done by encroaching on religious and national symbols, striking institutions, and blocking roads, but with state support,” Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi tweeted on Monday evening.

“We will not tolerate transgressors,” he added.

The militias are accused of various human rights violations against protesters.

Militia forces affiliated with Sadr raided a number of activists’ houses in Najaf province on Saturday night, activists told Rudaw English.

This came a day after a ceremony was held by activists in Najaf, to mark the one year anniversary of a massacre in Najaf’s Sadrayn square where Sadr supporters stormed an anti-government protest camp.

Twenty-three people were killed and more than 182 wounded, according to AFP.

Sadr has been a vocal supporter of reform and anti-corruption campaigns for years. When anti-government protests broke out in October 2019, he sent members the Peace Brigades to protect the demonstrators. But Sadr changed his position and by February 2020, his militias were involved in suppression of the protests.

Activist Raed al-Daami was kidnapped in Karbala on Saturday by what he believes was a Sadr-aligned militia.

A video clip published to social media showed two men forcing Daami into a car before driving him to an unknown destination.

“I was taken to an abandoned place while I was blindfolded, and I was investigated about the reasons for my participation in the annual anniversary organized by the Najaf activists in the Writers Union two days ago. This indicates that the kidnapping party is affiliated with the Sadrist movement,” Daami told Rudaw English.

Daami said that he was tortured for more than three hours and was threatened not to participate in any further demonstrations.

Killing and kidnappings are taking place elsewhere in Iraq. Ali Imad, an activist in Nasriyiah, survived an assassination attempt at dawn on Monday, when he was shot four times. Demonstrations were revived in response, activists told Rudaw English.

Videos that went viral on social media on Monday showed protesters in Nasiriyah blocking main roads in the city with burning tires to denounce the assassination attempts against activist Imad, threatening to escalate their protests if the local government and security forces do not provide adequate protection for activists.

“We will keep escalating unless the government and security forces provide protection for the demonstrators and activists in Nasiriyah.” Muhammad Yasir, an activist from the city told Rudaw English on Monday.

In November 2020, protesters in the city’s Habboubi Square were forced out of their tents and shot at by Sadr supporters, leaving at least seven people dead and scores wounded. Protesters moved back into the square a week later and vowed to continue protesting.

Biden Puts Pressure on the Iranian Nuclear Horn

Joe Biden says US will not lift sanctions until Iran stops uranium enrichment

Biden has said that US will not lift sanctions to get Iran on the negotiating table and indicated that it will only happen if Tehran stops enriching uranium.

US President Joe Biden has said that Washington will not lift sanctions to get back Iran on the negotiating table and indicated that the measure will only happen if Tehran stops enriching uranium. In an interview with CBS News, when Biden was asked if he would initiate the move to start negotiations, he replied “No”. Further, in the newly released clip, when he was asked of the Islamic Republic must stop enriching uranium first, he nodded. Ever since Biden acquired the US presidency in January, these are the first direct public response on Iran as both nations share a strenuous relationship.

Former US President Donald Trump had withdrawn from the Nuclear Accord 2015 and imposed crippling sanctions on Iran to curb the nuclear arms operation in the country. Meanwhile, Biden, in the past has said that the United States will rejoin the nuclear deal, formally named, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) once Tehran fully complies again with the pact. Iran, on the other hand, has called for the scrapping of the sanctions that are impacting its economy severely especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Tehran has reportedly breached the obligations under the nuclear deal after the Trump administration abandoned the pact.

Read – Iran To Begin Mass COVID-19 Inoculation Soon, Assures Islamic Republic’s Health Ministry

Read – Iran: US Must Lift Sanctions If It Wants Nuclear Deal

‘It is very clear’ according to Iran

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on February 7 said that the United States was the one that left the nuclear and it “must lift all sanctions” if it wants Tehran to return to the conditions of the deal. Earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told CNN on Sunday that the United States is the one who needs to return to the pact and that Iran was always a part of the deal.

“It is very clear, it was the United States that left the deal. It was the United States that violated the deal. It was the United States that punished any country that remained respectful and compliant with the deal,” Zarif said. “It is for the United States to return to the deal to implement its obligations. Iran never left the deal.”