Provides Roadmap to Replace Nuclear Plant with Energy Efficiency, Wind and Solar Power While Maintaining Power Supply Reliability
NEW YORK (October 12, 2012) – In just the last year, New York State began developing at least 25 percent of the alternative electricity sources necessary to replace the Indian Point nuclear power plant, according to a new report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Riverkeeper. The report also provides a detailed roadmap for fully and cost-effectively replacing the aging nuclear facility’s power with equal investments in energy efficiency and renewable power sources alone, with no impact to the reliability of the region’s energy supply. The findings come just days before Nuclear Regulatory Commission relicensing hearings for Indian Point begin next week.
“Indian Point is an obsolete, dangerous nuclear plant that’s far outlived its usefulness and must be closed,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Chief Prosecuting Attorney for Riverkeeper and Senior Attorney at NRDC. “It simply makes no sense to keep operating forty year old reactors that are vulnerable to fire, earthquake, outside attack and a host of other potential disasters less than thirty miles from New York City. What’s more, we don’t need Indian Point’s power: this report shows definitively that we can replace it with entirely clean sources like energy efficiency, solar and wind without affecting the reliability of the grid, and with minimal cost increases to consumers. New York is safer, more secure and simply better off without Indian Point.”
“In just the last year, New York State has already shown that it has the will and the ability to move forward with replacing Indian Point’s power,” said NRDC Clean Energy Counsel Kit Kennedy. “When an earthquake, flooding or tornadoes—all of which we’ve seen in the area in recent years—could trigger a shutdown or even disaster at this aging plant, it’s clear we need to do something about it. We have better, safer options. New York should lead with bold new policies to ensure that energy efficiency, wind and solar power play the key role in replacing Indian Point’s power. This will keep New York energy secure, while making the state a clean energy leader. It’s common sense.”
The report, Indian Point Replacement Analysis – A Clean Energy Roadmap, was prepared by Synapse Energy Economics, Inc. and assesses clean energy resources in the state, as well as the policies necessary to implement them. This report follows a 2011 Synapse report commissioned by the groups that found there is a wide range of replacement energy options available in the state to reliably and cost-effectively replace Indian Point if its licenses are not renewed. This year’s report reaffirms those findings and follows up with a “how-to” policy guide, focusing solely on efficiency and renewable energy options.
Among its key findings, the analysis concludes that:
“Riverkeeper has led the fight to expose the risks posed by Indian Point for over a decade, a campaign that gained new urgency after the Fukushima nuclear disaster,” said Paul Gallay, President and Hudson Riverkeeper. “This report lays out a roadmap for replacing Indian Point’s power with clean, sustainable energy sources, thereby ensuring that a future without this dangerous nuclear plant is not only desirable but eminently achievable.”
The state already has a number of significant efficiency and renewable projects in the works that can help replace the nuclear plant. This includes efforts like the New York Sun Initiative, which aims to quadruple the amount of customer-sited solar power installed annually statewide by 2013, and the Energy Highway Initiative, which relies in part on renewable and efficiency projects to modernize state’s energy system.
The report’s policy roadmap shows how the state can build on these efforts to fully replace Indian Point with energy efficiency and renewable energy. Recommendations include:
These findings come just days before the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board kicks off a series of evidentiary hearings, starting October 15, on the proposed relicensing of the Indian Point plant. The State of New York and Riverkeeper are leading the formal challenge to the relicensing of Indian Point.
A related past NRDC analysis, also issued last fall, underscored the need to replace the aging nuclear plant in New York City’s backyard by outlining the costs and consequences of an accident there: bit.ly/zQG25b. It revealed that an accident of a similar scale to the Fukushima disaster in just one of Indian Point’s reactors could cause a catastrophe of far greater scale and cost—and it wouldn’t take a tsunami to trigger it. More common occurrences like thunderstorms, flooding or tornados could cause trouble. The result could be a fallout plume reaching south to the New York City metropolitan area, require the sheltering or evacuation of millions of people, and cost 10 to 100 times more than Fukushima’s disaster.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Livingston, Montana, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org.
Riverkeeper is a member-supported, watchdog organization dedicated to defending the Hudson River and its tributaries and protecting the drinking water supply of nine million New York City and Hudson Valley residents. For more information, please visit www.riverkeeper.org.