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

Indian Point Energy Center

Nuclear 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] 

Israel drops drone outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Israel drops drone in N. Gaza


MENAFN

Northern Gaza on Wednesday saw the falling of an Israeli drone, with the Israeli military having confirmed that the accident occurred during a routine operation in the region.

The news was confirmed in a twitter statement posted by Avichay Adraee, a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), who further asserted that there are “no concerns of leaked information from the drone.”

In the meantime, Anadolu Agency quoted a source from one of the resistance groups in Gaza as saying that his group seized the drone but did not give more information.

Gaza has witnessed a military escalation since Friday in which Palestinian resistance groups have fired rockets from Gaza towards Israeli regions whereas the Israeli army has targeted many locations in Gaza of Hamas’s military wing.

Rallies held outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Rallies held in Gaza against election postponement

GAZA CITY, Palestine

Palestinians on Friday staged rallies across Gaza to protest the postponement of the parliamentary elections.

The rallies converged to the streets from various mosques after Friday prayers upon the call of the Hamas group.

The protesters raised banners in support of Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Addressing a rally in northern Gaza, Moshir al-Masri, a Hamas leader, slammed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to delay the polls.

“What the Jerusalemites achieved of victory must be a direction for the politicians of the Palestinian Authority to impose the electoral national agenda on the [Israeli] Zionist enemy,” al-Masri said.

Meanwhile, Suleiman Abu Sitta, a nominee on Hamas’s electoral list, said during a rally in Rafah, southern Gaza, that the “masses today are angry at the decision of the Palestinian Authority.”

“Delaying the polls is a political sin,” he added.

On Friday, Abbas announced postponement of elections until the Israeli authorities permit holding the elections in Jerusalem.

The parliamentary polls were expected to be held on May 22, presidential polls on July 31 and Palestinian national council polls on August 31.

* Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

The Iranian Trap: Daniel 8:4

The Iranian trap


In the Middle East, y, yet those holy causes become new religions that no one can control.

‘Iran could have enough material for nuclear weapon by year’s end’
The Middle East has a knack for creating grandiose causes that often end up being a trap for those who once created them. Whether the cause for resistance, the cause for Palestine, the cause for democratic change, the cause for Islam and Sharia-based political order, they tend to turn into monsters eating up those who fed them. Currently, Iran is on its way to create a new cause for nuclear rights which is, if we are to depend on regional history, likely to come back with a vengeance.

The history of the modern Middle East is that of devotional causes that went rogue. Once a holy cause is established, it becomes independent of its origins and grows a life of its own, often consuming the very original conditions for its existence. Such causes are always easy to ratchet up, but almost impossible to ratchet down. The cause of post-colonial Arab national liberation championed by Arab nationalists in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya and Algeria ended up with military officers rolling on top of tanks, and Arab capitals starting a continuous history of military coups and counter-coups, building some of the most brutal and monstrous political order in Arab history. For many Arab historians, injustice and crimes of European colonialism look like humanitarian interventions compared to Saddam’s Iraq, Ghaddafi’s Libya or Assad’s Syria.

The Palestinian cause, the holy grail of all causes, ended up setting the regional infrastructure for a world of guerilla warfare, armed militias, terrorism, a cult of suicide bombings and an insatiable messianic zeal. The cause for Palestine unleashed long series of wars, defeats, losses of resources, destruction of any prospects for healthy Arab political life, justification for brutal repression; in short, it became completely out of control.

The cause ended up starting civil wars in Jordan and Lebanon, hijacking Arab passenger planes, entering coalitions with vicious and destructive forces and destabilized the foundations of the very states that once helped establish the cause itself. The same thing can be said for Islam and Sharia law. Once desiring to morally upstage their opponents, the Arab rulers who wanted to play the Islamic card ended up being their first victims. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, who freed Islamists from prisons in order to take down his Socialist opponents and introduce Sharia law into the Egyptian constitution, was the first Arab ruler to be assassinated by Islamic terrorism, leaving Egyptians to this day stuck with a constitution no one dares change. Once the cause is up, it’s very difficult for it to come down.

When Hezbollah made its debut as the hero of Lebanese resistance against Israeli occupation, even many Lebanese Christians helped to ratchet up the resistance cause. After the unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, the Lebanese people discovered that resistance is an eternal condition that cannot be resolved, even with the negation of Israeli occupation. The Lebanese state was left with no political power, no functional institutions and no viable path towards normativity. Resistance is endless, and if Hezbollah saw the Israeli occupation as a cause worthy of resistance, it saw in the Israeli withdrawal a conspiracy worthy of even more resistance.

In the Middle East, regimes have the nasty habit of tabbing into holy causes for legitimacy, yet those holy causes become new religions that no one can control. Today, the Islamic Republic is setting itself a classical Mideast trap. The nuclear cause and hegemonic quest are turning into a holy doctrine regardless of Iran’s economic capacity, developmental needs, international hostility or the potential for dystopian nuclear proliferation in one of the most volatile regions of the world. Iran is pushing forward with a new cause that will prove to be difficult to swiftly moderate even if its leaders wanted to do so.

The more the Islamic Republic depends on such causes for its survival, the more it entangles itself in a trap that cannot be avoided. The more entangled it gets, the less it is possible for the Iranian people to survive such a trap without deposing the Iranian regime.

We are not saying that Iran will abandon its nuclear goals or its hegemonic ambitions easily. It probably will do neither of those without the credible threat of military force. At this point, it does not look like the Biden administration has a realistic appraisal of the real nature Iranian threat against the United States or the moral courage and stamina for yet another military confrontation in the Middle East.

The problem of an Iranian nuclear bomb is not limited to Israel and the Gulf states. There is a strong connection between Caracas, Venezuela, and Tehran, Iran, and a high probability that the Iranians are transferring their weaponry to the Western hemisphere. The American public, as well as our policymakers, are seemingly oblivious to the fact that the Iranians are working with the rabidly anti-American regime of Nicolás Maduro to replicate what Israel faces in its northern border with Lebanon, home to approximately 150,000 missiles.

This is not just an Israeli issue or a Sunni Arab State issue or even a Republican issue. This is an American issue. We have often asked ourselves what there is in the phrase “Death to America” that many Americans refuse to understand.

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Yes, the Iranians are building a trap for themselves, although it might look to them at the moment that they are winning. With their swagger and braggadocio, they are testing their limits and playing with fire. The only thing that will convince them that they are in the trap is the credible threat of military force. And that threat will, most likely, not come from the Biden administration.

It might, however, come from a new NATO-like alliance forming between Israel and the Gulf Arab states. They understand and appreciate the military might and sophisticated intelligence capabilities of the Israelis.

The Iranians might be laughing at the United States, Israel and the Gulf nations while they are negotiating in Vienna. But America might find itself in a position, one day, where it will be thanking its ally, Israel, and the newly formed friendships in the Gulf for protecting all of us from the megalomaniacal Islamic Republic of Iran.

Sarah N. Stern is the founder and president of EMET, and Hussein Aboubakr Mansour is the director of EMET’s Program for Emerging Democratic Voices Coming out of the Middle East.

Reprinted with permission from JNS.org.

The Hegemony of the Chinese Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

DIA: China capable of mounting nuclear weapons to planes to dominate northeastern, Western Africa

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:40 AM PT – Friday, April 30, 2021

The Defense Intelligence Agency, or DIA, found China has been rapidly expanding its military force. DIA Director Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier told the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday, China appears to have developed the capability to mount nuclear missiles to its warplanes.

“Is China capable of arming its hypersonic glide vehicles with nuclear warheads, and if so, what kind of risk does that pose to the united states and our interests?” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) asked.

“The answer to that question is yes, and that poses a significant risk,” Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier answered.

Berrier added, hypersonic glide vehicles are Russian technology, which Moscow has improved in recent years. For its part, China is seeking a similar modernization of its nuclear forces by the year 2030. Berrier went on to say, China is working to establish a base in Djibouti, which is a country in northeastern Africa, to threaten U.S. interests.

“Senator, I believe the Chinese — in order to safeguard their Belt and Road Initiative — will emplace military forces where they see they need that kind of capability,” Berrier continued. “Africa is certainly one of those places they have done that.”

The DIA director also confirmed previous reports that Beijing has bought political influence in western Africa, as well, in order to begin building a naval base there.

“The way they look at Africa is sort of this long-term developmental approach, which will allow them over a long period to put more forces there,” Berrier said. “So, I do agree with General Townsend, but in the extent that Africa is one area where strategic competition will play out, it will also play out in Latin America, in South America and wherever they extend their markets, you will find that activity.”

Lt. Gen. Berrier also said China is following a simple scheme by investing millions of dollars into poor countries first and then deploying its military there as part of a global power play.

Iran Makes Plans to Nuke Up: Daniel 8

Iran seeks tech in Sweden for nuclear weapons – Swedish intel. report

By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL APRIL 29, 2021 23:20

Sweden’s Security Service disclosed in its 2020 intelligence report that the Islamic Republic of Iran seeks Swedish technology for its nuclear weapons program, The Jerusalem Post can reveal.Iran, China and Russia are Sweden’s biggest security threats, according to the report.

A damning section states that “Iran also conducts industrial espionage, which is mainly targeted against Swedish hi-tech industry and Swedish products, which can be used in nuclear weapons programs. Iran is investing heavy resources in this area and some of the resources are used in Sweden.”The revelations about Iran’s illicit nuclear weapons procurement activities in Sweden comes on the heels of a German intelligence document, which declared last week that Iran’s regime has not ceased its drive to obtain weapons of mass destruction during 2020.

The Swedish and German intelligence documents might add new glitches to the US calculus to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name for the Iran nuclear deal.The US is indirectly negotiating with Iran’s regime in Vienna about reentering the accord, which permits Iran’s regime, according to critics, to enrich uranium for an atomic weapon within ten years.The German and Swedish intelligence findings establish that Iran’s regime still seeks a nuclear weapons program. The JCPOA is only a temporary restriction on the Islamic Republic’s drive to join the club of nations with atomic weapons, argue critics of the 2015 deal.The Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 JCPOA in 2018 because, the US government said at that time, the atomic deal did not prevent Iran’s regime from developing a nuclear weapon.“Several countries engage in various forms of espionage and security-threatening activities against Sweden. Russia, China and Iran make up the biggest threat,” wrote the Swedish Security Service (In Swedish: Säkerhetspolisen).The intelligence report added that the regimes “aim to strengthen their country’s economic, political status and military superpower.”The 88-page document said Tehran mainly conducts observation of Iranian refugees and dissidents who are viewed as a threat to the clerical regime and wages industrial espionage against Sweden.Iran’s regime uses its intelligence apparatus to engage in espionage, targeting dissidents in Sweden and Swedish industry.In the section titled “Iran,” the Swedish intelligence agency writes that the Iranian regime maps critics of the regime with respect to opposition groups in Sweden who are judged by the Islamic Republic to “destabilize” the clerical regime.Iran’s regime seeks information from Swedish universities and colleges and there are efforts to recruit staff from Sweden’s research community.The Post reported in 2012 that the Swedish government sought to block robust EU sanctions on Iran’s regime in order to protect a business deal between Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson and Tehran.The then-Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, who has long championed diplomacy over sanctions as the method to deal with totalitarian regimes like Iran and Syria, went to great lengths to prevent the EU from forcing Ericsson to pull the plug on its contracts with Syria’s regime, according to a report in another Israeli paper in 2012.According to the paper, Israeli diplomats, citing their European diplomatic counterparts, questioned whether Bildt had “personal interests” in Iran that were impeding his capacity to move forward with sanctions.

Hamas Won’t Let. Israel Stop Palestinian elections,: Revelation 11

Abbas delays Palestinian elections, Hamas slams ‘coup’


By JOSEPH KRAUSS Associated Press
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JERUSALEM (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said early Friday that the main factions have agreed to delay the first elections planned in 15 years, citing a dispute with Israel over voting in east Jerusalem.

The decision spares Abbas’ fractured Fatah party from what was widely expected to be another embarrassing defeat to the Islamic militant group Hamas, which slammed the move as a “coup.” It will be quietly welcomed by Israel and Western countries, which view Hamas as a terrorist group and are concerned about its growing strength.

But it leaves a political leadership in place that has failed to advance Palestinian hopes for statehood and is seen as increasingly corrupt and authoritarian.

Speaking at the start of the meeting, Abbas focused his remarks on east Jerusalem, where Israel has yet to say whether it would allow voting by mail as in past elections and has enforced a ban on Palestinian Authority activities, including campaign events.

“We will take the proper decision to preserve all our rights in east Jerusalem, our eternal capital, including the right to hold parliamentary elections there,” Abbas said in a lengthy speech before the closed-door part of the gathering.

He announced the decision shortly after midnight Thursday.

Postponing the vote over Jerusalem could be seen as a pretext, as only a small number of voters in the city would actually require Israel’s permission and several candidates have suggested workarounds.

Abbas said the Palestinian Authority has repeatedly sought assurances from Israel and called on the European Union to exert pressure, to no avail. He said it received a letter from Israel on Thursday saying it could not take a position on the elections because it does not yet have a government of its own following last month’s elections.

The Islamic militant group Hamas, which stands to gain influence in the elections, condemned the decision, saying it “doesn’t agree with the national consensus and popular support and is a coup.”

Prior to the announcement, Hamas had issued a statement saying the Palestinians should explore ways of “forcing the elections in Jerusalem without the permission of or coordination with the occupation.”

The group also issued a veiled warning to Abbas without mentioning him by name, saying Hamas “will not be party to any postponement or cancellation and will not provide cover.”

The responsibility for any such decision “will rest with those who take it in response to the veto of the occupation,” it said.

Hamas was expected to perform well in the May 22 parliamentary elections because of widening divisions within Fatah, which has split into three rival lists.

Israel has not said whether it will allow voting in east Jerusalem but has expressed concern about Hamas’ growing strength. Israel and Western countries view Hamas as a terrorist group and would likely boycott any Palestinian government that includes it.

The day after President Joe Biden exhorted Americans to “prove that democracy still works” in an address to Congress, his State Department distanced itself from the Palestinian vote.

“The exercise of democratic elections is a matter for the Palestinian people and for the Palestinian leadership to determine,” spokesman Ned Price told reporters in Washington. “We believe in an inclusive political process.”

Israel captured east Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza, in the 1967 war, territories the Palestinians want for their future state. Israel annexed east Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally and views the entire city as its capital, barring the Palestinian Authority from operating there. The Palestinians consider east Jerusalem their capital.

According to interim peace agreements reached in the 1990s — which were rejected by Hamas — some 6,000 Palestinians in east Jerusalem submit their ballots through Israeli post offices. The other 150,000 can vote with or without Israel’s permission.

Fatah has said the elections cannot be held without Israel giving express permission for east Jerusalem residents to vote. Its opponents have called for creative solutions, such as setting up ballot boxes in schools or religious sites.

But Abbas appeared to rule that out on Thursday, joking that the Palestinians would not vote in “the Hungarian Embassy.”

The dispute has taken on greater import since the start of the holy month of Ramadan, as Muslim protesters have clashed with Israeli police over restrictions on gatherings.

The elections, and a presidential vote planned for July 31, offered a rare opportunity for the Palestinians to empower a new leadership and potentially chart a different course in their stalled, decades-long struggle for independence.

The 85-year-old Abbas and his inner circle of Fatah figures, now in their 60s and 70s, have dominated the Palestinian Authority for nearly two decades. They have failed to advance Palestinian hopes for statehood, heal a 13-year internal rift with Hamas, lift the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza or empower a new generation of leaders.

The last elections, held in 2006, saw Hamas win a landslide victory after campaigning as a scrappy underdog untainted by corruption. That sparked an internal crisis culminating in Hamas’ seizure of Gaza the following year, which confined Abbas’ authority to parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Hamas’ popularity has fallen in the years since, as conditions in Gaza have steadily deteriorated. But it has remained unified and disciplined even as Fatah has split into three rival parliamentary lists.

Hamas does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and has fought three wars with it since seizing control of Gaza. It has also carried out scores of attacks over the past three decades that have killed hundreds of Israeli civilians.

Associated Press reporters Matthew Lee in Washington; Fares Akram in Gaza City, Gaza Strip and Jelal Hassan in Ramallah, West Bank, contributed to this report.

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