Changing Hands Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

BY BRIAN PJ CRONIN

DECEMBER 21, 2019

Riverkeeper objects to potential transfer

Last month, the energy company filed an application with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to transfer its licenses to operate Indian Point to Holtec International after the shutdown of the last reactor at the nuclear plant, which is scheduled for April 2021.

Holtec would then begin mothballing the facility, using a $2.1 billion decommissioning fund that has been accumulated by Entergy during the life of the plant. Holtec also has said it would hire about 300 Indian Point workers.

“Entergy is in the power-generation business, and decommissioning is a line of work that we’re not involved in,” said Jerry Nappi, an Entergy representative. “Holtec specializes in the management of used fuel and its affiliates have special expertise in decommissioning. They can decommission the plant decades sooner than Entergy would be able to.”

Entergy’s original plan had been to take 60 years, the maximum time allowed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Holtec plans to do it in 15. (Holtec did not respond to a request for comment for this story.)

The accelerated timeline doesn’t concern Richard Webster, the legal director for Riverkeeper, the Ossining-based environmental group. Many decommissioning projects start with a process called SAFSTOR, in which the plant is monitored for up to 45 years to give the radioactive materials time to decay and lower the amount of hazardous material. By skipping SAFSTOR, “15 years is a reasonable amount of time to do it,” said Webster.

Nevertheless, Riverkeeper has asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (or, failing that, Gov. Andrew Cuomo) to deny the transfer to Holtec.

“Our objections can be summed up as: Bribes, lies, poor safety record and under-capitalization,” said Webster.

Holtec is no stranger to controversy. In 2010, the inspector general for the Tennessee Valley Authority, a federal agency, found that Holtec had funneled $54,000 to a TVA manager to secure contracts. The firm was fined $2 million and barred from federal contracts for 60 days.

In Ohio, Holtec was awarded tax credits following a 2009 promise to bring 200 jobs to its facility in Orrville. But the jobs never appeared — in fact, the plant lost four positions — and the tax credits were rescinded.

Then, when applying for tax breaks in New Jersey in order to bring a facility to Camden, the company claimed that it had never been barred from working with federal agencies. To push New Jersey to grant the tax breaks, Holtec said Ohio and South Carolina had made generous counterproposals, an assertion both states denied.

Last year, a contractor at the San Onofre nuclear power plant in California, where Holtec has been contracted to manage spent fuel, brought to light an apparent near accident involving a dry cask filled with radioactive fuel. (Plant officials said there was never any danger to the public.) The worker also alleged the site was understaffed and its supervisors often replaced with less experienced managers.

Finally, on the financial side, Webster said he was alarmed at Holtec’s decision at the Oyster Creek nuclear plant in New Jersey, which has been decommissioning for less than a year, to transfer money from the decommissioning fund to spent fuel management, a move that Holtec has signaled it would also do at Indian Point.

“That’s not what that fund is for,” he said. “And there’s a complicated set of LLCs [limited-liability corporations] designed to shield Holtec International, the core corporation. We just don’t have much information about the financial viability [of the company]. If you were running a huge international business that was making money, you shouldn’t be so desperate to get tax breaks that you have to lie on a form.”

At Entergy, Nappi said that Holtec’s recent approvals from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission show that the issues raised aren’t of concern. “The NRC has approved the transactions for two previous nuclear power plants to Holtec, and that only happens if a company can demonstrate that it has the technical and financial qualifications needed,” he said. “We feel confident that Indian Point will receive approval.”

If that happens, Webster said he hoped that it would at least come with certain conditions, such as the creation of a citizens’ oversight committee with the power to (1) audit the decommissioning fund, (2) subpoena documents, (3) have specialists look at difficult situations, and (4) transfer questions of safety to the NRC.

At the least, Webster said, Holtec should not be allowed to keep anything that remains in the decommissioning fund at the end of the project, as it might encourage the firm to do the job as cheaply as possible at the expense of safety and other concerns.

Indian Point is NOT radiologically ready for the Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

image-546

With Indian Point, are you radiologically ready?

By Thomas Slater Emergency Preparedness Coordinator

August 23rd, 2018 | NewsNews and Features

Just as there are plans in place for dealing with natural emergencies such as tropical and winter storms, readiness plans are developed for man-made emergencies, which includes radiological hazards.

Nuclear power plants operate in most states in the country and produce about 20 percent of the nation’s power.

Nearly three million people live within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone of an operating nuclear power plant, including West Point, which is situated between 7-to-9 miles from the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC) in Buchanan of Westchester County.

Although the construction and operation of nuclear power plants are closely monitored and regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, incidents at these plants are possible—and planned for.

If an accident at IPEC were to result in the potential or actual release of radiation, warning sirens in the area would be activated. Commercial and West Point media sources would broadcast Emergency Alert System  messages to advise you on protective measures.

Depending upon the scope and scale of the emergency, protective actions may include “shelter-in-place” or “evacuation” advisories. As radioactive materials rapidly decay and dissipate with distance, the most likely scenario for West Point personnel would be to take shelter rather than trying to evacuate.

If you are instructed to shelter-in-place, the following steps will keep you and your family safe during the emergency.

• Shelter. Go inside your home or the nearest building; choose an inside room with as few windows or doors as possible.

• Shut. Shut and lock all windows and doors to create a better seal; turn off heating or cooling ventilation systems. If at home, make sure the fireplace damper and all ventilation fans are closed.

• Listen. Local officials are your best source of information. If in an office, monitor your computer, television and phones; if at home, listen to your radio or television until you are told it is safe to leave the shelter or to evacuate.

For more details, consult the Orange County Indian Point Emergency Guide, available at https://www.orangecountygov.com/DocumentCenter/View/2368/Indian-Point-Orange-Emergency-Guide-PDF, or call the West Point Emergency Manager at 845-938-7092.

Readiness, through education and preparation, is the best defense. Are you radiological ready?

Indian Point is NOT radiologically ready for the Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

image-546

With Indian Point, are you radiologically ready?

By Thomas Slater Emergency Preparedness Coordinator

August 23rd, 2018 | NewsNews and Features

Just as there are plans in place for dealing with natural emergencies such as tropical and winter storms, readiness plans are developed for man-made emergencies, which includes radiological hazards.

Nuclear power plants operate in most states in the country and produce about 20 percent of the nation’s power.

Nearly three million people live within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone of an operating nuclear power plant, including West Point, which is situated between 7-to-9 miles from the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC) in Buchanan of Westchester County.

Although the construction and operation of nuclear power plants are closely monitored and regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, incidents at these plants are possible—and planned for.

If an accident at IPEC were to result in the potential or actual release of radiation, warning sirens in the area would be activated. Commercial and West Point media sources would broadcast Emergency Alert System  messages to advise you on protective measures.

Depending upon the scope and scale of the emergency, protective actions may include “shelter-in-place” or “evacuation” advisories. As radioactive materials rapidly decay and dissipate with distance, the most likely scenario for West Point personnel would be to take shelter rather than trying to evacuate.

If you are instructed to shelter-in-place, the following steps will keep you and your family safe during the emergency.

• Shelter. Go inside your home or the nearest building; choose an inside room with as few windows or doors as possible.

• Shut. Shut and lock all windows and doors to create a better seal; turn off heating or cooling ventilation systems. If at home, make sure the fireplace damper and all ventilation fans are closed.

• Listen. Local officials are your best source of information. If in an office, monitor your computer, television and phones; if at home, listen to your radio or television until you are told it is safe to leave the shelter or to evacuate.

For more details, consult the Orange County Indian Point Emergency Guide, available at https://www.orangecountygov.com/DocumentCenter/View/2368/Indian-Point-Orange-Emergency-Guide-PDF, or call the West Point Emergency Manager at 845-938-7092.

Readiness, through education and preparation, is the best defense. Are you radiological ready?

Indian Point closes but not before the Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

Indian Point closes

By MARIE J. FRENCH, SAMANTHA MALDONADO and MARCUS NAVARRO

04/30/2020 10:00 AM EDT

— Opponents of Indian Point’s scheduled shutdown today hold a Zoom protest starting at 2 p.m. The mayor of the village of Buchanan is scheduled to speak, according to organizers.

— While natural gas is likely to fill in the gap left by the plant’s closure in the short run, environmentalists supporting the closure and policymakers point to a regional cap on emissions from the power sector as evidence that overall carbon pollution will continue a downward trajectory.

— Parks in New Jersey will reopen, Gov. Phil Murhpy announced.

The Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, N.Y. | AP Photo

NUKE NO MORE — POLITICO’s Marie J. French: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s quest to shutter Indian Point will enter the final stages as an operator at one of the nuclear plant’s units flips a switch Thursday. Under an agreement reached with Cuomo, Entergy is scheduled to shut down one of its 1,000 megawatt reactors at 11 p.m. The move will reduce the amount of zero-emissions power consumed in downstate New York and increase demand for gas-fired plants in the short run. Most environmental advocates have hailed the closure as a victory — and have for years raised safety concerns and issues with the plant’s impact on the Hudson River, They say it will not ultimately impede achievement of the state’s ambitious renewable energy goals, arguing new fossil fuel plants are not “needed” to replace the nuclear plant.

NJ PARKS TO REOPEN — POLITICO’s Sam Sutton: Democratic and Republican lawmakers in New Jersey are taking credit after Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order Wednesday that will allow parks and golf courses to reopen in time for Saturday morning tee times. But Murphy said his decision to reverse his April 7 order to shut down state and county parks had little to do with the three weeks of pleading and cajoling that’s gone on publicly and behind the scenes. … Murphy said he decided to reopen parks and golf courses only after similar actions were taken in Pennsylvania and New York, thereby ensuring New Jersey’s facilities wouldn’t be inundated by out-of-staters.

— Following Murphy’s announcement, the New Jersey Sierra Club, Food and Water Watch and League of Conservation Voters — issued statements praising the move to re-open state and county parks and forests. (Note: New York never closed its state parks, but did briefly close golf courses.)

RGGI REGS OUT — Bloomberg’s Keshia Clukey: “New York state plans to lower its cap on carbon dioxide emissions by about 1.4 million tons in 2021, and by nearly 1 million tons annually through 2030, according to a proposal published Wednesday. ‘The RGGI program demonstrates how states can work together to respond to the climate crisis in a way that advances our economies,’ DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a news release. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the state DEC won’t host a public hearing on its proposal, but will accept public comments through June 29.”

— Environmental advocates praised the DEC’s extension of the RGGI rules to small peaker plants that had previously been left out of the cap.

POLITICO Pro is here to help you navigate these unprecedented times. Check out our new Covid-19 Coverage Roundup, which provides a daily summary of top Covid-19 news coverage from across all 16 federal policy verticals as well as premium content, such as DataPoint graphics. Please sign up at our settings page to receive this unique roundup sent directly to your inbox every weekday afternoon.

Around New York

— Tesla’s solar energy business took a step backward to start the year, with installations dropping as the coronavirus outbreak started to spread through the economy.

— OPINION: State Sen. Todd Kaminsky says New York should begin reopening its economy with green projects.

— The South Fork offshore wind farm will “very likely” be delayed beyond its planned 2022 completion date, according to a top official for project developer Orsted, who cited a “prolonged” federal review of U.S. wind projects and the COVID-19 pandemic.

— Cleaning product manufacturers say the Covid-19 crisis should prompt New York state to delay by one year its ban on all but trace concentrations of 1,4-dioxane in their products.

— The New York Power Authority returns to the market after a multi-year absence, with a $1.1 billion bond offering including its first-ever green bonds.

— BLOG: Andrew Ratzkin, an energy sector lawyer and member of the Westchester County Climate Smart Communities Task Force, advocates for a carbon tax.

— Manhattan residents are using up to 25 percent more energy during the day amid the coronavirus lockdown.

— Flooding along the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario may not be as bad as feared. Regulators of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River say water levels this year are expected to peak “well below” the record-highs of 2017 and 2019.

— The Cohoes Common Council unanimously approved a one-year moratorium Tuesday night on the burning of firefighting foam with potentially hazardous PFAS compounds, effectively preventing Norlite from restarting the incineration process that it used to fuel part of its operations.

— Rockland County parks, which were closed April 7 in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, are readying to reopen, County Executive Ed Day announced Wednesday.

— Dairy farmers in upstate New York who faced the wrenching task of dumping their milk earlier this month as the novel coronavirus spread are now confronting a grim future: months of low prices that could squeeze them out of business.

Across the River

— Since the coronavirus, the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority and plants around the country, have seen an increased number of disinfectant wipes, latex gloves, and face masks being flushed down toilets, creating clogs, blockages, and other damage to critical infrastructure.

— State regulators are giving solar installers more time to show that their arrays qualify for Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs), if they have not formally completed their applications by the end of April because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

— Residents of a community destroyed by Superstorm Sandy have won a court victory that will restart their long-delayed plans to rebuild more than eight years after the devastation, according to their attorneys.

The History Of New York Earthquakes: Before The Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/normantranscript.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/08/408bdb1d-8734-5959-b892-f359fe1bf6b9/54382834d5e4b.image.jpg

Historic Earthquakes

Near New York City, New York

1884 08 10 19:07 UTC

Magnitude 5.5

Intensity VII

USGS.gov

This severe earthquake affected an area roughly extending along the Atlantic Coast from southern Maine to central Virginia and westward to Cleveland, Ohio. Chimneys were knocked down and walls were cracked in several States, including Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Many towns from Hartford, Connecticut, to West Chester,Pennsylvania.

Property damage was severe at Amityville and Jamaica, New York, where several chimneys were “overturned” and large cracks formed in walls. Two chimneys were thrown down and bricks were shaken from other chimneys at Stratford (Fairfield County), Conn.; water in the Housatonic River was agitated violently. At Bloomfield, N.J., and Chester, Pa., several chimneys were downed and crockery was broken. Chimneys also were damaged at Mount Vernon, N.Y., and Allentown, Easton, and Philadelphia, Pa. Three shocks occurred, the second of which was most violent. This earthquake also was reported felt in Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Several slight aftershocks were reported on August 11.

Indian Point Shutdown Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Indian Point

Indian Point to Begin Shutdown

 

The Indian Point nuclear power plant near Peekskill (Photo by Mihai Andritoiu)

 

First of two reactors will go offline next week

After decades of production and protests, theIndian Point nuclear power plant will begin to shut down next week with the closure of one of its two remaining reactors.

Reactor No. 2 is scheduled to shut down on Thursday (April 30), with No. 3 to follow in April 2021. The plant was built in 1962; No. 2 went online in 1974 and No. 3 in 1976. (No. 1 was shut down in 1974 because its cooling system did not meet regulatory requirements.)

The scheduled closure was announced three years ago by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Entergy, which owns and operates the plant on the Hudson River near Peekskill.

The question of who will be decommissioning Indian Point to secure its radioactive material is unresolved. Entergy wants to transfer its license to operate the plant to a firm called Holtec International but has met opposition.

Under guidelines established by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), a nuclear plant that closes must be decommissioned within 60 years. Many plants do this through a procedure called SAFSTOR, in whichthe facility is mothballed for 50 years to allow the radioactive material to decay. Holtec wants to begin work immediately to have the plant free of nuclear material within 15 years.

Although Holtec’s finances and some of its business dealings have drawn criticism, the Ossining-based environmental group Riverkeeper said it would like to see a quicker decommissioning process, in part to provide immediate employment for plant workers.

“We want this to be a win for everybody, and we don’t want to see some communities left behind,” said Richard Webster, its legal program director. In the meantime, Riverkeeper has joined forces with other organizations to launch a Beyond Indian Point campaign for renewable energy. Webster said that since the shutdown was announced, a reactor’s worth of renewable energy has come onto the state grid.

Although some level of risk will remain as long as radioactive material is on the site, the risk of an accident will fall significantly when Indian Point is no longer operational, said Richard Chang, a representative for the NRC. “The highest classification of an emergency for a permanently shut-down nuclear power plant would be an ‘alert,’ which is the second-lowest of the four levels of emergency classification used by the NRC,” he said.

Chang said that although the plant will still have emergency procedures after 2021, “changes in reduction and scope will occur.”

What About the Pipeline?

Even with the Indian Point plant closing, there remain concerns about the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline. The 37.6-mile, 42-inch-wide natural gas pipeline, which came online in early 2017 and transports more than 3 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day, passes through the Indian Point site.

In February, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was told to conduct a new safety review after the agency’s inspector general found that an initial study touting the pipeline’s safety used “backward engineering.” The new report, created with specialists from outside the agency and released on April 8, said that although the first report made “optimistic assumptions,” the pipeline is indeed safe.

The new report says that a rupture in the pipeline is unlikely because it “was installed using modern techniques, stringent quality standards and construction precautions.” Even if a break were to occur, the power plant would remain protected because its safety systems are far from the pipeline, the investigators concluded.

Given that both reactors will be offline in about a year, it said, the risk of a rupture affecting them is “very small,” the report said.

The report drew immediate condemnation from local lawmakers. “An independent risk assessment will provide a modicum of reassurance,” said Sandy Galef, whose state Assembly district includes Philipstown and Indian Point. “It is truly the least we can ask for.”

At Riverkeeper, Richard Webster said that while the risk of a rupture is low, the lack of an independent, peer-reviewed study is troubling. “This is an assurance from an agency that has repeatedly said in the past that something wasn’t a problem, and has then had to backtrack,” he said. “When they say the risk is not excessive, what does that mean? At the moment there’s no review and no clear standard.

“The bottom line is that the AIM Pipeline reduces safety. It’s bound to reduce safety, you can’t put a pressurized pipeline next to a nuclear plant and not reduce safety,” he said. “The question is, does it reduce safety to the point where it’s a problem?”

Indian Point is NOT radiologically ready for the Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

image-546

With Indian Point, are you radiologically ready?

By Thomas Slater Emergency Preparedness Coordinator

August 23rd, 2018 | NewsNews and Features

Just as there are plans in place for dealing with natural emergencies such as tropical and winter storms, readiness plans are developed for man-made emergencies, which includes radiological hazards.

Nuclear power plants operate in most states in the country and produce about 20 percent of the nation’s power.

Nearly three million people live within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone of an operating nuclear power plant, including West Point, which is situated between 7-to-9 miles from the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC) in Buchanan of Westchester County.

Although the construction and operation of nuclear power plants are closely monitored and regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, incidents at these plants are possible—and planned for.

If an accident at IPEC were to result in the potential or actual release of radiation, warning sirens in the area would be activated. Commercial and West Point media sources would broadcast Emergency Alert System  messages to advise you on protective measures.

Depending upon the scope and scale of the emergency, protective actions may include “shelter-in-place” or “evacuation” advisories. As radioactive materials rapidly decay and dissipate with distance, the most likely scenario for West Point personnel would be to take shelter rather than trying to evacuate.

If you are instructed to shelter-in-place, the following steps will keep you and your family safe during the emergency.

• Shelter. Go inside your home or the nearest building; choose an inside room with as few windows or doors as possible.

• Shut. Shut and lock all windows and doors to create a better seal; turn off heating or cooling ventilation systems. If at home, make sure the fireplace damper and all ventilation fans are closed.

• Listen. Local officials are your best source of information. If in an office, monitor your computer, television and phones; if at home, listen to your radio or television until you are told it is safe to leave the shelter or to evacuate.

For more details, consult the Orange County Indian Point Emergency Guide, available at https://www.orangecountygov.com/DocumentCenter/View/2368/Indian-Point-Orange-Emergency-Guide-PDF, or call the West Point Emergency Manager at 845-938-7092.

Readiness, through education and preparation, is the best defense. Are you radiological ready?

Columbia University Warns Of Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

 

Earthquakes May Endanger New York More Than Thought, Says Study

A study by a group of prominent seismologists suggests that a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area substantially greater than formerly believed. Among other things, they say that the controversial Indian Point nuclear power plants, 24 miles north of the city, sit astride the previously unidentified intersection of two active seismic zones. The paper appears in the current issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

Many faults and a few mostly modest quakes have long been known around New York City, but the research casts them in a new light. The scientists say the insight comes from sophisticated analysis of past quakes, plus 34 years of new data on tremors, most of them perceptible only by modern seismic instruments. The evidence charts unseen but potentially powerful structures whose layout and dynamics are only now coming clearer, say the scientists. All are based at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, which runs the network of seismometers that monitors most of the northeastern United States.

Lead author Lynn R. Sykes said the data show that large quakes are infrequent around New Yorkcompared to more active areas like California and Japan, but that the risk is high, because of the overwhelming concentration of people and infrastructure. “The research raises the perception both of how common these events are, and, specifically, where they may occur,” he said. “It’s an extremely populated area with very large assets.” Sykes, who has studied the region for four decades, is known for his early role in establishing the global theory of plate tectonics.

The authors compiled a catalog of all 383 known earthquakes from 1677 to 2007 in a 15,000-square-mile area around New York City. Coauthor John Armbruster estimated sizes and locations of dozens of events before 1930 by combing newspaper accounts and other records. The researchers say magnitude 5 quakes—strong enough to cause damage–occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884. There was little settlement around to be hurt by the first two quakes, whose locations are vague due to a lack of good accounts; but the last, thought to be centered under the seabed somewhere between Brooklyn and Sandy Hook, toppled chimneys across the city and New Jersey, and panicked bathers at Coney Island. Based on this, the researchers say such quakes should be routinely expected, on average, about every 100 years. “Today, with so many more buildings and people, a magnitude 5 centered below the city would be extremely attention-getting,” said Armbruster. “We’d see billions in damage, with some brick buildings falling. People would probably be killed.”

Starting in the early 1970s Lamont began collecting data on quakes from dozens of newly deployed seismometers; these have revealed further potential, including distinct zones where earthquakes concentrate, and where larger ones could come. The Lamont network, now led by coauthor Won-Young Kim, has located hundreds of small events, including a magnitude 3 every few years, which can be felt by people at the surface, but is unlikely to cause damage. These small quakes tend to cluster along a series of small, old faults in harder rocks across the region. Many of the faults were discovered decades ago when subways, water tunnels and other excavations intersected them, but conventional wisdom said they were inactive remnants of continental collisions and rifting hundreds of millions of years ago. The results clearly show that they are active, and quite capable of generating damaging quakes, said Sykes.

One major previously known feature, the Ramapo Seismic Zone, runs from eastern Pennsylvania to the mid-Hudson Valley, passing within a mile or two northwest of Indian Point. The researchers found that this system is not so much a single fracture as a braid of smaller ones, where quakes emanate from a set of still ill-defined faults. East and south of the Ramapo zone—and possibly more significant in terms of hazard–is a set of nearly parallel northwest-southeast faults. These include Manhattan’s 125th Street fault, which seems to have generated two small 1981 quakes, and could have been the source of the big 1737 quake; the Dyckman Street fault, which carried a magnitude 2 in 1989; the Mosholu Parkway fault; and the Dobbs Ferry fault in suburban Westchester, which generated the largest recent shock, a surprising magnitude 4.1, in 1985. Fortunately, it did no damage. Given the pattern, Sykes says the big 1884 quake may have hit on a yet-undetected member of this parallel family further south.

The researchers say that frequent small quakes occur in predictable ratios to larger ones, and so can be used to project a rough time scale for damaging events. Based on the lengths of the faults, the detected tremors, and calculations of how stresses build in the crust, the researchers say that magnitude 6 quakes, or even 7—respectively 10 and 100 times bigger than magnitude 5–are quite possible on the active faults they describe. They calculate that magnitude 6 quakes take place in the area about every 670 years, and sevens, every 3,400 years. The corresponding probabilities of occurrence in any 50-year period would be 7% and 1.5%. After less specific hints of these possibilities appeared in previous research, a 2003 analysis by The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation put the cost of quakes this size in the metro New York area at $39 billion to $197 billion. A separate 2001 analysis for northern New Jersey’s Bergen County estimates that a magnitude 7 would destroy 14,000 buildings and damage 180,000 in that area alone. The researchers point out that no one knows when the last such events occurred, and say no one can predict when they next might come.

“We need to step backward from the simple old model, where you worry about one large, obvious fault, like they do in California,” said coauthor Leonardo Seeber. “The problem here comes from many subtle faults. We now see there is earthquake activity on them. Each one is small, but when you add them up, they are probably more dangerous than we thought. We need to take a very close look.” Seeber says that because the faults are mostly invisible at the surface and move infrequently, a big quake could easily hit one not yet identified. “The probability is not zero, and the damage could be great,” he said. “It could be like something out of a Greek myth.”

The researchers found concrete evidence for one significant previously unknown structure: an active seismic zone running at least 25 miles from Stamford, Conn., to the Hudson Valley town of Peekskill, N.Y., where it passes less than a mile north of the Indian Point nuclear power plant. The Stamford-Peekskill line stands out sharply on the researchers’ earthquake map, with small events clustered along its length, and to its immediate southwest. Just to the north, there are no quakes, indicating that it represents some kind of underground boundary. It is parallel to the other faults beginning at 125th Street, so the researchers believe it is a fault in the same family. Like the others, they say it is probably capable of producing at least a magnitude 6 quake. Furthermore, a mile or so on, it intersects the Ramapo seismic zone.

Sykes said the existence of the Stamford-Peekskill line had been suggested before, because the Hudson takes a sudden unexplained bend just ot the north of Indian Point, and definite traces of an old fault can be along the north side of the bend. The seismic evidence confirms it, he said. “Indian Point is situated at the intersection of the two most striking linear features marking the seismicity and also in the midst of a large population that is at risk in case of an accident,” says the paper. “This is clearly one of the least favorable sites in our study area from an earthquake hazard and risk perspective.”

The findings comes at a time when Entergy, the owner of Indian Point, is trying to relicense the two operating plants for an additional 20 years—a move being fought by surrounding communities and the New York State Attorney General. Last fall the attorney general, alerted to the then-unpublished Lamont data, told a Nuclear Regulatory Commission panel in a filing: “New data developed in the last 20 years disclose a substantially higher likelihood of significant earthquake activity in the vicinity of [Indian Point] that could exceed the earthquake design for the facility.” The state alleges that Entergy has not presented new data on earthquakes past 1979. However, in a little-noticed decision this July 31, the panel rejected the argument on procedural grounds. A source at the attorney general’s office said the state is considering its options.

The characteristics of New York’s geology and human footprint may increase the problem. Unlike in California, many New York quakes occur near the surface—in the upper mile or so—and they occur not in the broken-up, more malleable formations common where quakes are frequent, but rather in the extremely hard, rigid rocks underlying Manhattan and much of the lower Hudson Valley. Such rocks can build large stresses, then suddenly and efficiently transmit energy over long distances. “It’s like putting a hard rock in a vise,” said Seeber. “Nothing happens for a while. Then it goes with a bang.” Earthquake-resistant building codes were not introduced to New York City until 1995, and are not in effect at all in many other communities. Sinuous skyscrapers and bridges might get by with minimal damage, said Sykes, but many older, unreinforced three- to six-story brick buildings could crumble.

Art Lerner-Lam, associate director of Lamont for seismology, geology and tectonophysics, pointed out that the region’s major highways including the New York State Thruway, commuter and long-distance rail lines, and the main gas, oil and power transmission lines all cross the parallel active faults, making them particularly vulnerable to being cut. Lerner-Lam, who was not involved in the research, said that the identification of the seismic line near Indian Point “is a major substantiation of a feature that bears on the long-term earthquake risk of the northeastern United States.” He called for policymakers to develop more information on the region’s vulnerability, to take a closer look at land use and development, and to make investments to strengthen critical infrastructure.

“This is a landmark study in many ways,” said Lerner-Lam. “It gives us the best possible evidence that we have an earthquake hazard here that should be a factor in any planning decision. It crystallizes the argument that this hazard is not random. There is a structure to the location and timing of the earthquakes. This enables us to contemplate risk in an entirely different way. And since we are able to do that, we should be required to do that.”

New York Earthquake Briefs and Quotes:

Existing U.S. Geological Survey seismic hazard maps show New York City as facing more hazard than many other eastern U.S. areas. Three areas are somewhat more active—northernmost New York State, New Hampshire and South Carolina—but they have much lower populations and fewer structures. The wider forces at work include pressure exerted from continuing expansion of the mid-Atlantic Ridge thousands of miles to the east; slow westward migration of the North American continent; and the area’s intricate labyrinth of old faults, sutures and zones of weakness caused by past collisions and rifting.

Due to New York’s past history, population density and fragile, interdependent infrastructure, a 2001 analysis by the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranks it the 11th most at-risk U.S. city for earthquake damage. Among those ahead: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. Behind: Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Anchorage.

New York’s first seismic station was set up at Fordham University in the 1920s. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, in Palisades, N.Y., has operated stations since 1949, and now coordinates a network of about 40.

Dozens of small quakes have been felt in the New York area. A Jan. 17, 2001 magnitude 2.4, centered  in the Upper East Side—the first ever detected in Manhattan itself–may have originated on the 125th Street fault. Some people thought it was an explosion, but no one was harmed.

The most recent felt quake, a magnitude 2.1 on July 28, 2008, was centered near Milford, N.J. Houses shook and a woman at St. Edward’s Church said she felt the building rise up under her feet—but no damage was done.

Questions about the seismic safety of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which lies amid a metropolitan area of more than 20 million people, were raised in previous scientific papers in 1978 and 1985.

Because the hard rocks under much of New York can build up a lot strain before breaking, researchers believe that modest faults as short as 1 to 10 kilometers can cause magnitude 5 or 6 quakes.

In general, magnitude 3 quakes occur about 10 times more often than magnitude fours; 100 times more than magnitude fives; and so on. This principle is called the Gutenberg-Richter relationship.

Six Quakes Rattle Northeast Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Six quakes rattle Northeast in six days. Scientists don’t know what’s causing them

March 11, 2020 07:58 AM

How to prepare for an earthquake

FEMA released a video on tips on what people should do in the event of an earthquake. By FEMA

Six earthquakes in six days rattled communities throughout the Northeast and surrounding areas in Canada, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The strongest was a 3.1-magnitude earthquake at about 6:43 a.m. Wednesday in Upstate New York, the USGS said. More than 2,000 people reported feeling the quake about 45 miles north of Albany.

The quake was felt as far away as Albany, according to the USGS.

A pair of 2.7-magnitude earthquakes have also hit the region over the past week. One hit in Montreal, on the city’s island on the St. Lawrence River, at about 4:20 p.m. Friday, USGS data shows. About 300 people reported feeling shaking from the quake, but there were no reports of damage or injuries.

Another 2.7-magnitude earthquake was reported in the ocean about 31 miles off Old Orchard Beach, Maine, at about 3 p.m. Monday, according to the USGS.

That was the second quake in the region Monday. At 8 a.m., a 2.2-magnitude earthquake struck about 21 miles north-northeast of Augusta, Maine, according to the USGS.

Quakes between 2.5 and 5.4 magnitude are often felt but rarely cause much damage, according to Michigan Tech.

Geologists are not sure what caused the earthquakes in New England and Quebec.

“New England and Long Island are far from the nearest plate boundaries, which are in the center of the Atlantic Ocean and in the Caribbean Sea. New England is laced with known faults but numerous smaller or deeply buried faults remain undetected. Even the known faults are poorly located at the depths of most earthquakes,” according to the USGS.

“Few, if any, earthquakes in New England can be linked to named faults. It is difficult to determine if a known fault is still active and could slip and cause an earthquake. As in most other areas east of the Rockies, the best guide to earthquake hazards in New England and Long Island is the earthquakes themselves.”

The same is true for the Adirondack region and Quebec, the USGS said.

There were five small earthquakes in four days around the northeast, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. USGS

The last earthquake in New England to cause “moderate damage” was in 1940 when a 5.6-magnitude temblor hit central New Hampshire, according to the USGS.

On Sunday a smaller 1.9-magnitude earthquake hit over the border in New Hampshire, about 10 miles from the state capital Concord.

The first quake in the area over the past week was a 1.7-magnitude that hit Thursday on the Gulf of St. Lawrence in New Brunswick.

There were five small earthquakes in four days around the northeast, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. USGS

Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.

USGS Evidence Shows Power of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

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

USGS.gov

Earthquake shaking in the eastern United States can travel much farther and cause damage over larger areas than previously thought.

U.S. Geological Survey scientists found that last year’s magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia triggered landslides at distances four times farther—and over an area 20 times larger—than previous research has shown.

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

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

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

This study also supports existing research showing that although earthquakes are less frequent in the East, their damaging effects can extend over a much larger area as compared to the western United States.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The difference between seismic shaking in the East versus the West is due in part to the geologic structure and rock properties that allow seismic waves to travel farther without weakening.

Learn more about the 2011 central Virginia earthquake