Earth Matters: Indian Point’s Final Days – Nyack News and Viewsby Barbara PuffIndian Point has been the crown jewel of the nuclear industrialist complex and closing it is a big step to a sustainable energy future. — Susan Shapiro, environmental lawyer.When scientists began exploring nuclear power in the 1950s, pollsters didn’t ask the public their opinion as support was almost unanimous. By the ’60s, there had been a few protests and opposition increased to 25%. So when Indian Point opened on September 16, 1962, it was greeted with enthusiasm, fanfare, and, in hindsight, naivete.Within a few years, increased pollution, loss of wildlife, and accidents at the plant elicited concern. In response, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and Riverkeeper were formed in 1966. After incidents at Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986, public opinion began to turn against the use of nuclear power.In 1984, her first year as a legislator, Harriet Cornell formed the Citizens Commission to Close Indian Plant. A glance at her press releases over the years shows her convictions regarding closing the plant. In a recent speech she noted: “Were it not for the superhuman efforts of concerned individuals and dedicated scientific and environmental organizations focusing attention on the dangers posed by Indian Point, who knows what might have happened during the last 40+ years.”Simultaneously Riverkeeper began documenting incidents, including:1 An antiquated water-cooling system killed over a billion fish and fish larvae annually.2 Pools holding spent nuclear fuel leaked toxic, radioactive water into the ground, soil, and Hudson River.3 Recurring emergency shut-downs.4 27% of the baffle bolts in Unit 2 and 31% in Unit 3, holding the reactor core together, were damaged.5 The plant was vulnerable to terrorist attack.6 Evacuation plans were implausible.7 No solution for spent nuclear fuel, posing the risk of radioactive release and contamination of land.8 The plant was near two seismic zones, suggesting an earthquake over 6.2 could devastate the area.9 Asbestos exposure.These and other issues led the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to rate Indian Point in 2000 as the most trouble-plagued plant in the country. Lamont-Doherty Observatory agreed, calling it the most dangerous plant in the nation.As individuals realized the seriousness of the situation, urgency for a solution grew and Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition was formed in 2001. Comprised of public interest, health advocates, environmental and citizen groups, their goals were to educate the public, pass legislation, and form a grassroots campaign with hundreds of local, state, and federal officials.Clearwater also began monitoring the plant around that time. Manna Jo Greene, Environmental Action Director, recalls, “We were concerned when one of the planes that struck the WTC flew over the plant, including several buildings that hold huge fuel pools, filled with spent fuel rods and radioactive waste.” Had anything happened, the nuclear power industry had provided protection for themselves while neglecting surrounding communities. Powerful lobbyists, backed by considerable financing, induced Congress to pass the Price-Anderson Act in 1957. This legislation protected nuclear power plant companies from full liability in the event of an accident, natural disaster or terrorist attack.With such warnings, it’s hard to believe as late as 2010, The New York Times stated, “No one should be hoping for a too hasty shutdown.” Over time, the cost of litigation by New York State proved more fatal to the continuance of plant operations than protests, though they were a crucial factor and led to initial filings. Attorney General Schneiderman was very active in filing contentions, legal reasons the plant shouldn’t be relicensed, and won several important court cases on high-level radioactive storage.In 2016, The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation denied Entergy a discharge permit for hot water into the Hudson River, part of their once-through cooling system. This permit was necessary for continued operation of the plant and a requirement for relicensing. The New York State Department of State, Bureau of Coastal Management, denied Entergy a water quality certificate the same year, which it also needed to relicense. After more than four decades of danger to the environment and residents, Governor Cuomo announced in January 2017 the plant would finally be closing. Unit 2 would cease production on April 30, 2020 and Unit 3 would end productivity on April 30, 2021.Later that year, in March 2017, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board allowed Entergy to renew the plant’s licenses until 2021, dismissing final points of contention between the company, New York State, and Riverkeeper. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino attempted to sue the state and reopen the plant in April 2017 but failed.Ellen Jaffee, NYS Assemblywoman, stated, “After 46 years of operation, I am glad to finally see the closure of Indian Point. Since joining the Assembly, I have long fought for its closure. I would not have been able to pursue these efforts if not for the environmental advocates, like the Riverkeeper, who fought long and hard beside myself to close the plant. The plant’s closure must be conducted in a safe manner, where all radioactive materials will be properly disposed of, without inflicting further harm on our environment. The closure of Indian Point shows that we can reduce our impact on the environment.”Harriet Cornell said, “We have waited years for this to happen and frankly, it can’t happen soon enough. The facts have long shown there is no future for this dangerous plant.”“The closure of Indian Point marks the shutdown of dirty polluting energy,” noted Susan Shapiro.Holtec, the company chosen to oversee decommissioning of the plant, has a horrific track record. New York State Attorney General Tish James released a statement in January expressing multiple grave concerns about them. According to Riverkeeper, they have a scandalous corporate past, little experience in decommissioning, dubious skills in spent fuel management, workplace safety infractions, and health violations. Another fear is the cost will exceed a decommissioning fund set aside by Entergy, Holtec will declare bankruptcy, and the public will absorb the difference.“Entergy made huge profits from Indian Point,” said Manna Jo Greene. “They’ve hired Holtec, a company with a poor record of decommissioning, to complete the work. Entergy plans to declare bankruptcy, thereby having taxpayers foot the bill. We are not out of danger. It is a different danger.”Richard Webster, Legal Program Director at Riverkeeper, adds, “Decommissioning must be done promptly, safely and reliably. Selling to Holtec is the worst possible option, because it has a dubious history of bribes, lies, and risk taking, very limited experience in decommissioning, is proposing to raid the decommissioning fund for its own benefit, and is proposing leaving contaminated groundwater to run into the Hudson River.”State Senator David Carlucci warned, “The NRC Inspector General Report shows there is much to be done by the NRC to gain the confidence of myself and the public, as the commission is charged with overseeing the decommissioning of Indian Point and ensuring the health and safety of Hudson Valley Communities. We demand answers from NRC Chairman Kristine Svinicki. The Chairman needs to come to the Hudson Valley immediately and outline the steps being taken to address our safety and explain how the commission will properly inspect and guard the pipeline near Indian Point moving forward.”One of the gravest dangers in decommissioning is the storage of spent fuel rods. A fuel rod is a long, zirconium tube containing pellets of uranium, a fissionable material which provides fuel for nuclear reactors. Fuel rods are assembled into bundles called fuel assemblies, which are loaded individually into a reactor core. Fuel rods last about six years. When they’re spent and removed they are placed in wet storage, or pools of water, which is circulated to reduce temperature and provide shielding from radiation. They remain in these pools for 10 years, as they are too hot to be placed in dry storage, or canisters. Even in dry storage, though, they remain extremely radioactive, with high levels of plutonium, which is toxic, and continue to generate heat for decades and remain radioactive for 10,000 years.“Elected officials and government groups became involved once they understood the fatal environmental dangers nuclear energy creates for millenium,” said Susan Shapiro. “It is the only energy that produces waste so dangerous that governments must own and dispose of it.”Robert Kennedy, Jr., of Waterkeeper, explained “If those spent fuel rods caught on fire, if the water dropped, the zirconium coatings of the spent fuel rods would combust. You would release 37 times the amount of radiation that was released at Chernobyl. Around Chernobyl there are 100 miles that are permanently uninhabitable. I would include the workplaces, homes of 20 million Americans, including the Financial District. There’s no evacuation plan. And it’s sitting on two of the biggest earthquake faults in the northeast.”On April 24, 2020, Beyond Indian Point Campaign was launched to advocate for a safe transition during decommissioning. Sponsored by AGREE, Frack Action, Riverkeeper, NIRS and Food and Water Watch, they’re demanding Cuomo hire another company, opposing a license transfer before the State Public Service Commission and NRC and pushing state legislation to establish a board to supervise the decommissioning fund. When decommissioning is finished Beyond Indian Point hopes to further assist the community in the transition to renewable energy. These include wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydrothermal power. Sign an online petition on their website to support their work, future generations and earth at BeyondIndianPoint.com, Facebook, or Twitter.“Bravo to everyone involved in making this historic day come to pass,” said Susan Shapiro.Raised in the Midwest, Barbara Puff is a writer who lives in Nyack, NY.
Is there any thinking person out there who does not know that southeastern Connecticut is at risk of possible terrorist attacks by insane countries or coalitions, likely to form destructive plans for targeted American places? The Gold Star Bridge, destroyed, would block the channel for submarines, rendering the Groton base useless, then destroyed, not to mention the I-95 corridor crippled.
The Coast Guard Academy, Homeland Security Station, General Dynamics, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Millstone Power Station could all be potential targets for destruction. It was President Reagan who wanted to build, “Star Wars” weaponry, launched into outer space, outfitted with lasers, to destroy nuclear weapons, preventing any country’s weaponry from targeting anything American at will.
President Trump formed the Space Corps as a military branch, conducting Homeland Security from outer space. Yes, the United States, Russia and China have these weapons. Such dastardly attacks mentioned above may happen, especially post-war strikes, in America, since the 20-year war just ended was not winnable from the start.
Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Maybe we should use such defensive tactics before it is too late! Remember it was 9/11 that started this. Just some realistic food for thought.
Cynthia Gunn Lazuk
“We will not rest until they are free,” said Hamas leader Ismail Radwan on Friday morning, referring to Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons.
Yesterday, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and other Palestinian factions called for a “day of rage” on Friday in protest of Israel’s decision to transfer security prisoners to other prisons following the escape of six inmates from Gilboa Prison earlier this week.
“We will defend you no matter the cost,” he added.
Dozens of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) inmates held at Ofer Prison were placed in solitary confinement after they refused to be moved to other prisons, the Israel Prison Service said in a statement.
On Wednesday, the Palestinian Authority, along with several Palestinian factions, warned Israel against punishing these inmates or harming the fugitives or their families.
Five of the inmates who escaped from Gilboa Prison are members of PIJ. The sixth, Zakaria Zubeidi, belongs to Fatah, the ruling faction headed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas. The six men hail from the Jenin area.
Deutsche WelleSeptember 10, 2021
The UN atomic watchdog on Tuesday said Iran has increased its stockpile of enriched uranium in breach of the 2015 accord intended to limit Tehran’s nuclear program.
The uranium could be used to make nuclear weapons and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that Iran had rendered the agency unable to continue with its inspections of the country’s nuclear activities.
“Since 23 February 2021 the Agency’s verification and monitoring activities have been seriously undermined as a result of Iran’s decision to stop the implementation of its nuclear-related commitments” as part of the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, the IAEA noted.
The UN agency told members that its ability to properly assess Tehran’s activities was deteriorating and that the situation would continue “unless the situation is immediately rectified by Iran.”
The IAEA said certain surveillance equipment cannot be left for more than three months without being serviced.
The agency was provided with access this month to four surveillance cameras installed at one location, but one of the cameras had been destroyed and a second had been severely damaged, the IAEA said.
US withdrawal left JCPOA vulnerable
Former President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the nuclear deal in 2018, leaving the accord between Iran and the P5+1 — the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: China, France, Russia, the UK and the US, plus Germany together with the European Union — hanging by a thread.
Under the accord, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran agreed to restrict its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.
Tehran responded to Washington’s decision to withdraw and reimpose sanctions by contravening many of those nuclear restrictions.
Indirect talks between the US and Iran, which took place in Vienna, have halted since Tehran’s hardline President Ebrahim Raisi took office.
France and Germany have called on Iran to return to the accord and Raisi has said Tehran is ready to do just that, but not if the West continues to apply “pressure.”
US envoy in Europe to discuss Iran
Meanwhile, US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley will visit Moscow and Paris this week for talks on Iran’s nuclear program, the State Department announced on Tuesday.
The talks will cover “Iran’s nuclear program and the need to quickly reach and implement an understanding on a mutual return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” it said, referring to the JCPOA.
Malley is expected to meet Russian officials in Moscow on Wednesday and Thursday, and British, French, German and European Union officials in Paris on Friday.
Yaniv KubovichSep. 10, 2021 11:20 PM
Israel conducted airstrikes in Gaza on Friday night after Palestinian militants launched a rocket at southern Israel, with no casualties reported. The launch followed Israel’s capture of two Palestinian inmates who escaped from an Israeli prison earlier this week.
The rocket was launched toward the Eshkol area, and was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. According to the military, air force planes struck a Hamas post used as a shooting range, a storage site, and a factory used for making concrete for attack tunnels. Palestinian sources did not report any injuries or deaths from the strikes.
Meanwhile, in the West Bank, about 1,000 Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces in several locations. Shots were fired at soldiers at the Jalamah checkpoint near Jenin. Palestinians also hurled improvised explosives and rocks at military forces, and the military reported that none of its soldiers were harmed.
Hamas spokesman Abdulatif al-Qanua said Friday evening that “the arrest of the two fugitives will not remove the stain from Israel. It’s enough that they have humiliated the Israeli security forces and the occupation regime.” Palestinian factions in Gaza have threatened to attack Israel and called for protests in support of the escaped inmates.
Earlier on Friday, two Palestinian fugitives were captured in Nazareth, five days into a manhunt that began after six inmates escaped from a maximum security Israeli prison. On Saturday two more escapees, Zakaria Zubeidi and Mohammed Aradeh, were caught; two more remain at large.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Qatari envoy to Gaza Mohammad al-Ammadi said that the Palestinian Authority had walked back on its deal with the United Nations and Doha to transfer Qatari aid to Hamas officialsthrough Palestinian banks in the West Bank. The PA has expressed concern that its banks will be exposed to lawsuits alleging support for terrorism, as Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by Israel and Western countries.
Srinivas Laxman / TNN / Sep 11, 2021, 01:02 IST
MUMBAI: Pakistan continues to expand its nuclear arsenal with more warheads, more delivery systems and a growing fissile materials production industry, according to a report in the US-based ‘Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists’ dated September 9.
The Bulletin was started in 1945 by scientists who were part of the ‘Manhattan Project’, which designed and developed the world’s first atomic bomb.
According to the Bulletin, Pakistan’s stockpile could grow to around 200 warheads by 2025, if the current trend continues. “Pakistan is clearly engaged in a significant build-up of its nuclear forces and has been for some time,” says the journal, adding that Pakistan now has a nuclear weapons stockpile of approximately 165 warheads.
Quoting a study in early 2021, it states that Pakistan could have produced 690 grams of tritium by the end of 2020, sufficient to boost over 100 weapons.
The report has emphasised that Pakistan’s expansion of nuclear weapons will largely depend upon India strengthening its nuclear weapons programme.
Analysis of a large number of commercial satellite images of Pakistani army garrisons and air force bases shows what appear to be launchers and facilities that might be related to the nuclear forces.
“With several new delivery systems in development, four plutonium production reactors and an expanding uranium enrichment infrastructure, however, Pakistan’s stockpile has the potential to increase further over the next 10 years,” the Bulletin report says.
The Bulletin quotes former Pakistani officials saying that this particular emphasis on non-strategic nuclear weapons is specifically intended as a reaction to India’s perceived “Cold Start” doctrine which “revolves around India maintaining the capability to launch large-scale conventional strikes or incursions against Pakistani territory below the threshold at which Pakistan would retaliate with nuclear weapons”.
According to the Bulletin, Pakistan has a well-established and diverse fissile material production complex that is expanding. It includes the Kahuta uranium enrichment plant east of Islamabad, which appears to be growing with the near completion of what could be another enrichment plant, as well as the enrichment plant at Gadwal to the north of the capital city.
Four heavy-water plutonium production reactors appear to have been completed at what is normally referred to as the Khushab Complex, some 33km (20 miles) south of Khushab in Punjab province. Three of the reactors at the complex have been added in the past 10 years.
The New Labs Reprocessing Plant at Nilore, east of Islamabad, which reprocesses spent fuel and extracts plutonium, has been expanded. A second reprocessing plant located at Chashma in the north-western part of Punjab province may have been completed and become operational by 2015.
A significant expansion to the Chashma complex was under construction between 2018 and 2020, according to the report.
Nuclear-capable missiles and their mobile launchers are developed and produced at the National Defence Complex (sometimes called the National Development Complex) located in the Kala Chitta Dahr mountain range west of Islamabad.