Too Late To Prevent The Spill: The Sixth Seal

Indian-Point-Power-Plant

WATCH: ‘The beginning of the end of NY’s nuclear power?’

Has the endgame begun for Indian Point? Sure looks that way.
Riverkeeper is fighting on every legal front to stop this dangerous, aging plant from operating, and there’s no doubt we are closing in.
Riverkeeper has raised awareness about the hazards posed by this plant – including the 2,000 tons of toxic nuclear waste that are stored onsite, on the banks of the Hudson River, with no solution in sight. Our commissioning of reports by Synapse Energy Economics helped document the availability of replacement power once the facility is decommissioned. And our attorneys wrapped up arguments that will deny Entergy, the plant’s owner, a means to renew the licenses it needs to continue operating.
Even Entergy seems to have gotten the memo. The plant’s owners are saying openly that it’s time to reach a deal with New York State about the the plant’s closure: An industry publication quotes CEO Leo Denault that Entergy “would be willing to strike a ‘constructive’ agreement with New York officials on early closure of the controversial Indian Point nuclear plant, provided that Entergy received ‘certainty’ and proper compensation for near-term operation … to meet grid reliability and environmental needs while the state pursues a major revamp of its electricity system.”
The state has already signaled its confidence that New York can do without Indian Point’s power. The state Public Service Commission ruled in November 2013 that New York can count on other sources of safe, reliable, affordable energy.
The transformation is already happening, with energy supplies and transmission lines that are in some cases built, in other cases breaking ground. The future is arriving sooner, perhaps, than Entergy thought it would.

– See more at: http://www.riverkeeper.org/blog/watchdog/watch-the-beginning-of-the-end-of-nys-nuclear-power/#sthash.fJtko3g0.dpuf

USA’s Fukushima At The Sixth Seal (Rev 6)

 

Recent series of Indian Point shutdowns worst in years
Ernie Garcia, elgarcia@lohud.com
BUCHANAN — Four unplanned reactor shutdowns over a two-month period at Indian Point are the most setbacks the nuclear power plant has experienced in years.
A review of unplanned shutdowns from January 2012 to the present showed this year’s events happened within a short time frame, between May 7 and July 8, in contrast with events from other years that were more spread out, according to data released by Indian Point.
So many mishaps at the Entergy-owned plant haven’t occurred since 2009, when one of two units at the Buchanan site experienced a similar series, said plant spokesman Jerry Nappi.
Besides a May 9 transformer failure that spilled some 3,000 gallons of oil into the Hudson River, this year’s shutdowns were prompted by a May 7 steam leak, a July 8 pump motor failure and a June 15 switch yard breaker failure offsite in a Consolidated Edison substation.
If a nuclear plant has more than three unplanned shutdowns in a nine-month period, its performance indicator could be changed by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which results in additional oversight. That’s what happened with Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Mass., after four unplanned shutdowns in 2013.
So far, Entergy said there doesn’t appear to be a pattern to the Indian Point shutdowns.
“You do want to look at these events holistically to see if there is something in common, but you also look individually to see what the causes were,” Nappi said. “A plant shutdown in and of itself is not a safety issue.”
One of the four recent Buchanan shutdowns triggered a special inspection by the NRC and calls to close the nuclear plant by environmental groups and elected officials. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said in the past Indian Point should close, but his office did not respond to a request for comment about whether the recent shutdowns have prompted any state scrutiny.
The NRC is expected to release a quarterly report on Indian Point this month that will address the transformer failure and, by year’s end, is planning an inspection of the transformer and an analysis of transformer issues since 2007.
Besides its transformer-related inquiries, the other three shutdowns have not raised “any immediate safety concerns or crossed any thresholds that would result in additional NRC oversight,” agency spokesman Neil Sheehan wrote in an email.
The unplanned shutdowns at Indian Point and Pilgrim in Massachusetts were mostly preventable, said Paul Blanch, a former Indian Point employee with 45 years of nuclear power experience.
“For this to happen this frequently indicates a deeper problem,” he said. “I believe it’s management oversight in the maintenance of these plants.”
Nappi said the transformer that failed May 9 and caused a fire and oil spill into the Hudson was regularly monitored. Investigators determined the failure was due to faulty insulation.
“The transformer inspection and reviews were in accordance with our standards and industry expectations, yet there was no indication the transformer was going to fail,” Nappi said.
The NRC conducted a separate, but related special inspection into the May 9 incident that focused on a half-inch of water that collected in an electrical switchgear room floor. Inspectors determined a fire suppression system’s valve failed to close properly.
Inspectors noted in their report that Entergy knew about that problem since April 2011 and replaced the valve but didn’t discover the actual cause — a dysfunctional switch — until after the fire.
Indian Point’s Unit 3 was down 19 days May through July, with the transformer failure accounting for 16 days. The shutdowns didn’t cause the public any supply problems because New York’s grid can import electricity from other states and New York has an energy plan to maintain reliability, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The nuclear energy industry judges a power plant on how continuously it produces energy, which is called a capacity factor.
There were 100 nuclear plants in the United States in 2014, a record year in terms of efficiency. In January, the Nuclear Energy Institute announced the U.S. average capacity factor was 91.9 percent.
Indian Point has an above-average efficiency rate. The plant’s Unit 2 and 3 reactors were each online more than 99 percent of the time during their most recent two-year operating cycles. They are currently in the middle of other cycles.

New Jersey #1 Disaster State: The Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

States of danger

Kiplinger News
New York Quake

The Sixth Seal: New York Quake

Disasters can happen anywhere and at any time. But some places experience more than their fair share of floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms and severe weather — so much so that certain locales earn frightening nicknames, such as Tornado Alley. No matter where you live, make sure you have the right kinds and necessary amounts of insurance coverage to protect your finances.

  • Estimated property damage (2006-2013): $26.4 billion
  • Most frequent disasters: damaging wind, winter storms, floods and flash floods
  • Weather-related fatalities (2006-2013): 87

New Jersey earns the top spot on this list, in large part due to damage wrought by Sandy — which had weakened from a hurricane to a post-tropical cyclone by the time it the Jersey Shore — in October 2012. The state was among the hardest hit by Sandy, which was the second-costliest storm in U.S. history, after Hurricane Katrina. Many homes and businesses were destroyed along the Jersey Shore, and a portion of the Atlantic City Boardwalk washed away. Shortly after Sandy hit, another storm brought wet snow that caused more power outages and damage.
Homeowners who live along the coast or in areas where there are frequent storms should take steps before hurricane season begins to protect their homes and finances from damage.

Indian Point Will Contaminate The Hudson With Plutonium At The Sixth Seal

Part of Indian Point nuclear plant still shut after transformer fire
AP
Sunday, May 10, 2015 06:35PM
BUCHANAN —
Part of a nuclear power plant remained offline Sunday after a transformer fire crea ted another problem: thousands of gallons of oil leaking into the Hudson River.
At an afternoon briefing, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said emergency crews were out on the water near Buchanan trying to contain and clean up the transformer fluid that leaked from Indian Point 3.
“There’s no doubt that oil was discharged into the Hudson River,” Cuomo said. “Exactly how much, we don’t know.”
The transformer at the plant about 30 miles north of midtown Manhattan failed on Saturday evening, causing a fire that forced the automatic shutdown.
Cuomo revealed Sunday that even after the blaze on the non-nuclear side of the plant was quickly doused, the heat reignited the fire, but it was again extinguished.
Oil in the transformer seeped into a holding tank that did not have the capacity to contain all the fluid, which then entered river waters through a discharge drain.
Joseph Martens, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection, said measures were taken to keep the oil from spreading, including setting up booms over an area about 300 feet in diameter in the water.
The cleanup should take a day or two, Cuomo said.
A spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said several thousand gallons of oil may have overflowed the transformer moat.
The reactor itself was deemed safe and stable throughout, said a spokesman for owner Entergy Corp. The plant’s adjacent Unit 2 reactor was not affected and remained in operation.
The Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan supplies electricity for millions of homes, businesses and public facilities in New York City and Westchester County.
“These situations we take very seriously. Luckily this was not a major situation. But the emergency protocols are very important,” Cuomo said Saturday. “I take nothing lightly when it comes to this plant specifically.”
The transformer at Indian Point 3 takes energy created by the plant and changes the voltage for the grid supplying power to the state. The blaze, which sent black smoke billowing into the sky, was extinguished by a sprinkler system and on-site personnel, Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi said. Westchester County police and fire were on site as a precaution.
It was not immediately clear what caused the failure, or whether the transformer would be repaired or replaced. Nappi said there were no health or safety risks.
Officials did not know how long the 1,000-megawatt reactor would be down. Entergy is investigating the failure.
Cuomo said there had been too many emergencies recently involving Indian Point. Unit 3 was shut down Thursday morning for an unrelated issue – a water leak on the non-nuclear side of the plant. It was repaired and there was no radioactive release, Nappi said.
In March, Unit 3 was shut down for a planned refueling that took about a month.
“We have to get to the bottom of this,” the governor said.
Diane Screnci, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said an agency inspector was at the site Sunday and the agency would follow up as Indian Point assesses the affected equipment.
She said there was no impact on the public, and it was not out of the ordinary for a transformer to have a problem.
The environmental watchdog group Riverkeeper issued a statement Sunday saying the latest Indian Point accident proves that the plant should be closed for good.

USA’s Fukushima At The Sixth Seal (Rev 6)

 

Recent series of Indian Point shutdowns worst in years
Ernie Garcia, elgarcia@lohud.com
BUCHANAN — Four unplanned reactor shutdowns over a two-month period at Indian Point are the most setbacks the nuclear power plant has experienced in years.
A review of unplanned shutdowns from January 2012 to the present showed this year’s events happened within a short time frame, between May 7 and July 8, in contrast with events from other years that were more spread out, according to data released by Indian Point.
So many mishaps at the Entergy-owned plant haven’t occurred since 2009, when one of two units at the Buchanan site experienced a similar series, said plant spokesman Jerry Nappi.
Besides a May 9 transformer failure that spilled some 3,000 gallons of oil into the Hudson River, this year’s shutdowns were prompted by a May 7 steam leak, a July 8 pump motor failure and a June 15 switch yard breaker failure offsite in a Consolidated Edison substation.
If a nuclear plant has more than three unplanned shutdowns in a nine-month period, its performance indicator could be changed by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which results in additional oversight. That’s what happened with Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Mass., after four unplanned shutdowns in 2013.
So far, Entergy said there doesn’t appear to be a pattern to the Indian Point shutdowns.
“You do want to look at these events holistically to see if there is something in common, but you also look individually to see what the causes were,” Nappi said. “A plant shutdown in and of itself is not a safety issue.”
One of the four recent Buchanan shutdowns triggered a special inspection by the NRC and calls to close the nuclear plant by environmental groups and elected officials. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said in the past Indian Point should close, but his office did not respond to a request for comment about whether the recent shutdowns have prompted any state scrutiny.
The NRC is expected to release a quarterly report on Indian Point this month that will address the transformer failure and, by year’s end, is planning an inspection of the transformer and an analysis of transformer issues since 2007.
Besides its transformer-related inquiries, the other three shutdowns have not raised “any immediate safety concerns or crossed any thresholds that would result in additional NRC oversight,” agency spokesman Neil Sheehan wrote in an email.
The unplanned shutdowns at Indian Point and Pilgrim in Massachusetts were mostly preventable, said Paul Blanch, a former Indian Point employee with 45 years of nuclear power experience.
“For this to happen this frequently indicates a deeper problem,” he said. “I believe it’s management oversight in the maintenance of these plants.”
Nappi said the transformer that failed May 9 and caused a fire and oil spill into the Hudson was regularly monitored. Investigators determined the failure was due to faulty insulation.
“The transformer inspection and reviews were in accordance with our standards and industry expectations, yet there was no indication the transformer was going to fail,” Nappi said.
The NRC conducted a separate, but related special inspection into the May 9 incident that focused on a half-inch of water that collected in an electrical switchgear room floor. Inspectors determined a fire suppression system’s valve failed to close properly.
Inspectors noted in their report that Entergy knew about that problem since April 2011 and replaced the valve but didn’t discover the actual cause — a dysfunctional switch — until after the fire.
Indian Point’s Unit 3 was down 19 days May through July, with the transformer failure accounting for 16 days. The shutdowns didn’t cause the public any supply problems because New York’s grid can import electricity from other states and New York has an energy plan to maintain reliability, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The nuclear energy industry judges a power plant on how continuously it produces energy, which is called a capacity factor.
There were 100 nuclear plants in the United States in 2014, a record year in terms of efficiency. In January, the Nuclear Energy Institute announced the U.S. average capacity factor was 91.9 percent.
Indian Point has an above-average efficiency rate. The plant’s Unit 2 and 3 reactors were each online more than 99 percent of the time during their most recent two-year operating cycles. They are currently in the middle of other cycles.

USA’s Fukushima At The Sixth Seal (Rev 6)

 
Ernie Garcia, elgarcia@lohud.com
A review of unplanned shutdowns from January 2012 to the present showed this year’s events happened within a short time frame, between May 7 and July 8, in contrast with events from other years that were more spread out, according to data released by Indian Point.
If a nuclear plant has more than three unplanned shutdowns in a nine-month period, its performance indicator could be changed by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which results in additional oversight. That’s what happened with Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Mass., after four unplanned shutdowns in 2013.
So far, Entergy said there doesn’t appear to be a pattern to the Indian Point shutdowns.
“You do want to look at these events holistically to see if there is something in common, but you also look individually to see what the causes were,” Nappi said. “A plant shutdown in and of itself is not a safety issue.”
One of the four recent Buchanan shutdowns triggered a special inspection by the NRC and calls to close the nuclear plant by environmental groups and elected officials. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said in the past Indian Point should close, but his office did not respond to a request for comment about whether the recent shutdowns have prompted any state scrutiny.
The NRC is expected to release a quarterly report on Indian Point this month that will address the transformer failure and, by year’s end, is planning an inspection of the transformer and an analysis of transformer issues since 2007.
Besides its transformer-related inquiries, the other three shutdowns have not raised “any immediate safety concerns or crossed any thresholds that would result in additional NRC oversight,” agency spokesman Neil Sheehan wrote in an email.
The unplanned shutdowns at Indian Point and Pilgrim in Massachusetts were mostly preventable, said Paul Blanch, a former Indian Point employee with 45 years of nuclear power experience.
“For this to happen this frequently indicates a deeper problem,” he said. “I believe it’s management oversight in the maintenance of these plants.”
Nappi said the transformer that failed May 9 and caused a fire and oil spill into the Hudson was regularly monitored. Investigators determined the failure was due to faulty insulation.
“The transformer inspection and reviews were in accordance with our standards and industry expectations, yet there was no indication the transformer was going to fail,” Nappi said.
The NRC conducted a separate, but related special inspection into the May 9 incident that focused on a half-inch of water that collected in an electrical switchgear room floor. Inspectors determined a fire suppression system’s valve failed to close properly.
Inspectors noted in their report that Entergy knew about that problem since April 2011 and replaced the valve but didn’t discover the actual cause — a dysfunctional switch — until after the fire.
Indian Point’s Unit 3 was down 19 days May through July, with the transformer failure accounting for 16 days. The shutdowns didn’t cause the public any supply problems because New York’s grid can import electricity from other states and New York has an energy plan to maintain reliability, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The nuclear energy industry judges a power plant on how continuously it produces energy, which is called a capacity factor.
There were 100 nuclear plants in the United States in 2014, a record year in terms of efficiency. In January, the Nuclear Energy Institute announced the U.S. average capacity factor was 91.9 percent.
Indian Point has an above-average efficiency rate. The plant’s Unit 2 and 3 reactors were each online more than 99 percent of the time during their most recent two-year operating cycles. They are currently in the middle of other cycles.

Too Late To Prevent The Spill: The Sixth Seal

Indian-Point-Power-Plant

WATCH: ‘The beginning of the end of NY’s nuclear power?’

Riverkeeper has raised awareness about the hazards posed by this plant – including the 2,000 tons of toxic nuclear waste that are stored onsite, on the banks of the Hudson River, with no solution in sight. Our commissioning of reports by Synapse Energy Economics helped document the availability of replacement power once the facility is decommissioned. And our attorneys wrapped up arguments that will deny Entergy, the plant’s owner, a means to renew the licenses it needs to continue operating.
Even Entergy seems to have gotten the memo. The plant’s owners are saying openly that it’s time to reach a deal with New York State about the the plant’s closure: An industry publication quotes CEO Leo Denault that Entergy “would be willing to strike a ‘constructive’ agreement with New York officials on early closure of the controversial Indian Point nuclear plant, provided that Entergy received ‘certainty’ and proper compensation for near-term operation … to meet grid reliability and environmental needs while the state pursues a major revamp of its electricity system.”
The state has already signaled its confidence that New York can do without Indian Point’s power. The state Public Service Commission ruled in November 2013 that New York can count on other sources of safe, reliable, affordable energy.
The transformation is already happening, with energy supplies and transmission lines that are in some cases built, in other cases breaking ground. The future is arriving sooner, perhaps, than Entergy thought it would.

New York’s Coming Fukushima

Former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Greg Jaczko discusses nuclear reactor safety in this clip from the documentary Indian Point. Courtesy First Run Features.
That’s what many activists and former nuclear regulators fear for the Indian Point Energy Center, a nuclear power plant that has operated in Westchester County for more than four decades. The plant provides a good chunk of the energy needs for the surrounding area, but it has come under fire in recent years for safety and environmental concerns, including its warming of the Hudson River and a recent case of bolts missing in one of its reactors. The plant’s two working reactor units are currently operating on expired licenses, with the state of New York having denied parent company Entergy’s water permits due to suspected violations of the federal Clean Water Act. Following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that caused catastrophic damage to Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and surrounding area, the safety of nuclear energy as a whole has come under even greater scrutiny.
In the new documentary Indian Point, currently in select theaters, filmmaker Ivy Meeropol uses the plant to get into both sides of the nuclear debate. Meeropol, who is also a director on the upcoming second season of the National Geographic Channel series Years of Living Dangerously, tours both Indian Point and Fukushima. She profiles plant workers and executives (Entergy cooperated with the film) along with antinuclear activists, environmental nonprofits, and former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Gregory Jaczko.
Though she says seeing the inner workings of the plant was “reassuring,” Meeropol still found many disturbing details. “All these people who work in a nuclear power plant, basically their main job is to make sure nothing goes terribly wrong,” she says. (See photos from Fukushima’s eerie ghost towns.)
Meeropol spoke to National Geographic about her journey into the central reactor of the nuclear debate, why nuclear power puts aquatic wildlife in danger, and just how scared New Yorkers should be about Indian Point.
The first time, the owners of Indian Point were only allowing me to film a typical tour that school groups can go on, or politicians. It’s a very controlled situation, where they bring you just to a few parts of the plant—you do not go to the radioactive side. That wasn’t really what I was looking for. As a documentary filmmaker, you want to go deeper, and you want to access areas that not everyone can typically see.
After that I kept pushing, calling the communications department, saying, “What I really want is for you to introduce me to someone who has worked there for a long time.” I was able to convince them that their side never gets seen. There are lots of films about nuclear power, and they’re all about trying to shut them down.
Personally, I found myself kind of giddy. It was a strange experience, like, “I can’t believe I’m so excited to go into a nuclear power plant.”
What were the most surprising things you learned about the nuclear industry or nuclear regulation in the United States?
Plants get original 40-year licenses to operate, and then they have to reapply for another 20 years. What I found surprising was how limited the scope was in what the [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] looks at to decide whether they can be relicensed. All of these issues that the public is concerned about [aren’t addressed], like whether you can evacuate. Twenty million people live in the danger zone around Indian Point, and there’s just no way to evacuate. So we have evacuation route signs all over the place—they practice for evacuation, they have siren testing. But everyone agrees, including most first responders in the tristate area, that you cannot evacuate. You know what it’s like at rush hour.
That is just one example of what is not even taken into account when the NRC decides whether a plant should be relicensed. And I started to think, “Well, that just seems crazy to me.” They’re so narrowly focused—importantly, obviously—on just the functions of the plant. They look at how a plant is aging: Are they replacing parts in a timely fashion? Are they looking at things that are degrading? So all that’s really important, but there are all these other issues, like the evacuation plan, that as the population has grown so much around the plant you’d think they would start evaluating at a certain point.
It seemed to me they were relicensing these plants kind of pro forma, like they were just saying, „OK, as long as you get your paperwork in on time and there are no glaring problems, you’re going to get relicensed.“ And with Indian Point, that’s not happened because there’s so much pressure on the plant.
But it seems like it doesn’t even matter in Indian Point’s case, because they’re still operating.
And that’s the other surprising thing. They can just keep operating. We all know there are so many loopholes and regulations and things, but this is a pretty big one. If you get all your paperwork in on time, as Indian Point did, and there are no glaring safety concerns in terms of the aging management of the plant, you can keep operating as long as you are in litigation. Entergy is being challenged on many fronts, including the water permit issue that I get into in the film, and as long as they keep these cases alive by appealing and appealing—and of course they can because they have endless resources—this plant can just keep operating. They can operate for years like this.
You traveled to Fukushima to film. What was your big takeaway from there?
I found it incredibly chilling to be there. The plant itself is very strange. You don’t smell or see or touch radiation, so you don’t know. But [there’s] this whole process of getting completely suited up, and there are literally thousands of workers there, and they have to dress like that every day. I think they’re only allowed to work there for about a month at a time before they’ve been exposed for too long; it’s too dangerous. It’s almost like slave labor. It’s all men, and now, more and more, much older men who have decided, “Well, I’m not long for this world. I guess I’ll just work at cleaning up Fukushima.” And it’s going to take maybe 80 years to clean it up.
One of the things that struck me the most was seeing mounds and mounds of radioactive dirt, layers and layers of dirt, scraped off the ground all around the plant and then piled up and covered up. And then there are tanks and tanks full of radioactive water that they’re sucking out, and they don’t have anywhere to put it. And you start to get this sense, and at home too, that there are just piles and piles of waste. They call it spent fuel, but it’s still hot—they can’t just throw it in the garbage. You start to get this overall feeling that even though, yes, nuclear power doesn’t contribute to climate change much at all compared to other forms of energy we have over the world, it really is not green. There is a lot of stuff that’s left behind that we don’t know what to do with. The fact [that] there’s no federal repository for this stuff, that it’s just piling up at plants around the country, is really disconcerting.
I think why Fukushima freaked everybody out, including the industry, is they didn’t think anything like that could happen. Nobody thought you could have no backup of electricity at all. But it changed the way we do things here. Now there are backup generators galore at Indian Point, and they’re way up the hill. They used to be much closer to the riverside. So they’ve learned something from Fukushima.
In the film, the thing that winds up most jeopardizing the fate of the plant is this giant prehistoric fish, the Atlantic sturgeon. Tell me about how it becomes a major player.
The sturgeon was just recently put on the endangered species list because of how the Hudson River is changing. So we were trying to make that point in a more general way, but it’s about all fish and the whole ecosystem of the river being altered by how the plant uses the river water. I had no idea that nuclear power plants use so much water. And when you look at them all over the country—they sit on a bay, they sit on the ocean—that’s what they’re doing. [At] Fukushima they were using ocean water, so that’s why all that radiation was spilling into the Pacific. So when it comes to Indian Point, I was shocked out of my mind when I learned that they suck in 1.2 billion gallons of water a day. I kept saying, “Is that a b or an m?” [Laughs]
[The water goes] through the plant, and then back out, and it spits out so much hotter—like Jacuzzi water. The cumulative effect of that is damaging the river. So what happens is New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation has been determined to deny Entergy their water permits to use the river that way, because of how many years they’ve abused the river and how many fish have died and how they’re changing the climate in the water. It’s just not sustainable. This is a battle that they have essentially won, except Entergy has endless resources to appeal, and they keep appealing.
Do you feel more nervous about living in New York now after having done this film?
It’s funny. I’ve been asked that question before, and I really don’t. I wouldn’t be able to do this kind of work if I was constantly terrified of it. There are a lot of things that I worry about more. I think there’s also something to be said for when you remove some of the mystery. It was scarier to me before I met everyone who works there. I still believe there’s a very slim chance that anything could ever happen. The scary part is that if something did, it would be so catastrophic.
This interview has been condensed and edited.
Andrew Lapin is a film critic and journalist who has written for NPR, Vulture, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and many other publications. Follow him on Twitter.

Fracking Won’t Stop New York’s Fukushima

In an ironic twist, fracking has been cited as a prime reason for shutting down New York’s Indian Point nuclear power plant, as cheap natural gas eroded the economics of generating nuclear power in the region. New York’s Governor Cuomo is a fracking critic who supported banning the practice, a step taken by the state in 2015. But Cuomo has also opposed Indian Point – located about 30 miles north of New York City – on safety grounds for years. Last week’s announcement that the plant would close 14 years early is being touted by the governor as a major victory, but his unlikely ally in that win is natural gas produced from the Marcellus and Utica shale resources located in nearby Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
Hydraulically fracturing wells to produce natural gas has unleashed new supplies of the fuel in volumes that have turned the power generation business on its ear. Natural gas has flooded the US market and consistently depressed natural gas, coal and wholesale power prices. Power generation companies typically turn to the least expensive fuel to produce electricity and that’s been natural gas in recent years. As their feedstock prices have come down so have wholesale power prices, which account for the bulk of the revenue they receive from selling power.
The situation is compounded by the fact that natural gas and power price forecasts remain depressed over the short and even medium term.
This poses tough questions for investor-owned utilities that need to make long-term investments in power generation assets, i.e. new and existing power plants. If a plant is losing money today, and anticipated to continue losing money for at least the next several years, it’s hard to tell investors that’s where you are putting their money. This is Entergy’s position with Indian Point.
Key considerations in our decision to shut down Indian Point ahead of schedule include sustained low current and projected wholesale energy prices that have reduced revenues, as well as increased operating costs,” Bill Mohl, president of Entergy Wholesale Commodities said in a statement. “Record low gas prices, due primarily to supply from the Marcellus Shale formation, have driven down power prices by about 45 percent, or by about $36 per megawatt-hour, over the last ten years, to a record low of $28 per megawatt-hour,” he added.
The elephant in the room, however, is the prospect of becoming overly reliant on a single power generation fuel. Utilities have typically strived to maintain a diverse energy supply portfolio – much like investing in a wide range of security products – in order to insulate against extreme price volatility affecting a single commodity. As more coal and nuclear plants close due to a combination of market and regulatory forces, power generators are increasingly being pushed toward gas for baseload power. Renewables are becoming cheaper and gaining market share, but still lag fossil fuels in most US markets. If this trend continues and natural gas prices increase over the longer term – perhaps due to greater consumption and exports, another recent trend – gas-heavy utilities will face challenges.

The Evacuation Map For the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

According to a recent report from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission the California Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant  (built in proximity to the San Andreas fault) which everyone always points to as the biggest earthquake risk in the US, is actually ranked 9th in the US in terms of earthquake risk (we somehow really doubt this). The top one? The same we wrote about yesterday as having had a leaking seal for the past 18 years according to the Union of Concerned Scientists – Indian Point in Buchanan, NY. Of course its proximity to New York City has immediately stirred cries of concern from the world’s most banksterous city and demands for a shutdown by Andrew Cuomo. It has also prompted Reuters to release an evacuation map of the surroundings should „something“ go wrong with Indian Point, an event which will likely only further instill a sense of soothing calmness and a „tranquility effect“ in the New Yorker community.
From Reuters:
That has stirred concerns about protecting the city’s eight million residents in the event of a disaster.
The plant sits about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of New York City, inside a 50-mile radius that U.S. authorities have recommended be evacuated around the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan.
And above is the map:
As to how New York could be the next Fukushima, here is the original report from MSNBC:
 What are the odds that a nuclear emergency like the one at Fukushima Dai-ichi could happen in the central or eastern United States? They’d have to be astronomical, right? As a pro-nuclear commenter on msnbc.com put it this weekend, „There’s a power plant just like these in Omaha. If it gets hit by a tsunami….“
It turns out that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has calculated the odds of an earthquake causing catastrophic failure to a nuclear plant here. Each year, at the typical nuclear reactor in the U.S., there’s a 1 in 74,176 chance that the core could be damaged by an earthquake, exposing the public to radiation. No tsunami required. That’s 10 times more likely than you winning $10,000 by buying a ticket in the Powerball multistate lottery, where the chance is 1 in 723,145.
And it turns out that the nuclear reactor in the United States with the highest risk of core damage from a quake is not the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, with its twin reactors tucked between the California coastline and the San Andreas Fault.
It’s not the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, a four-hour drive down the Pacific coast at San Clemente, surrounded by fault lines on land and under the ocean.
It’s not on the Pacific Coast at all. It’s on the Hudson River.
One in 10,000
A ranking of the 104 nuclear reactors is shown at the bottom of this article, listing the NRC estimate of risk of catastrophic failure caused by earthquake.
The chance of a core damage from a quake at Indian Point 3 is estimated at 1 in 10,000 each year. Under NRC guidelines, that’s right on the verge of requiring „immediate concern regarding adequate protection“ of the public. The two reactors at Indian Point generate up to one-third of the electricity for New York City. The second reactor, Indian Point 2, doesn’t rate as risky, with 1 chance in 30,303 each year.
The plant with the second highest risk? It’s in Massachusetts. Third? Pennsylvania. Then Tennessee, Pennsylvania again, Florida, Virginia and South Carolina. Only then does California’s Diablo Canyon appear on the list, followed by Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island.
The odds take into consideration two main factors: the chance of a serious quake, and the strength of design of the plant.
Nuclear power plants built in the areas usually thought of as earthquake zones, such as the California coastline, have a surprisingly low risk of damage from those earthquakes. Why? They built anticipating a major quake.
Other plants in the East, South and Midwest, where the design standards may have been lower because the earthquake risk was thought to be minimal, now find themselves at the top of the NRC’s danger list.
The chance of serious damage from a quake ranges from Indian Point’s 1 chance in 10,000 each year, a relatively higher risk, to the Callaway nuclear plant in Fulton, Mo., where the NRC set the lowest risk, 1 chance in 500,000 each year.
The full list of top 10 riskiest NPPs in the US:
2. Pilgrim 1, Plymouth, Mass.: 1 in 14,493. Old estimate: 1 in 125,000. Increase in risk: 763 percent.
3. Limerick 1 and 2, Limerick, Pa.: 1 in 18,868. Old estimate: 1 in 45,455. Increase in risk: 141 percent.
4. Sequoyah 1 and 2, Soddy-Daisy, Tenn.: 1 in 19,608. Old estimate: 1 in 102,041. Increase in risk: 420 percent.
5. Beaver Valley 1, Shippingport, Pa.: 1 in 20,833. Old estimate: 1 in 76,923. Increase in risk: 269 percent.
6. Saint Lucie 1 and 2, Jensen Beach, Fla.: 1 in 21,739. Old estimate: N/A.
7. North Anna 1 and 2, Louisa, Va.: 1 in 22,727. Old estimate: 1 in 31,250. Increase in risk: 38 percent.
8. Oconee 1, 2 and 3, Seneca, S.C.: 1 in 23,256. Old estimate: 1 in 100,000. Increase in risk: 330 percent.
9. Diablo Canyon 1 and 2, Avila Beach, Calif.: 1 in 23,810. Old estimate: N/A.
10. Three Mile Island, Middletown, Pa.: 1 in 25,000. Old estimate: 1 in 45,455. Increase in risk: 82 percent.