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Joel Engelmann Professor Radley Critical Thinking and Writing II 19 April 2012 Essay 3.1 Imagine a beautiful day in the downtown New York City. As always, New York City is packed full of people whether it's tourist families that are walking around visiting or a local business man on the way to work. Everyone is going about their peaceful lives and then boom; it's all gone. This event could happen if the Indian Point Power Plant's license is renewed and the plant continues to run. There are many dangers that accompany the nuclear power plant, whether it's the leaks that have been found all over the plant, the pollution issues that grow worse everyday or the event that would take place if a terrorist were to attack the plant. The side for the power plant makes many claims about how prices will be higher and reliability will be lower if there is no plant, but are these valuable excuses to compare to the safety of the U.S? In the end it comes down to what the United States values more, cheaper costs and better reliability or the lives of millions of citizens. The correct answer to these questions is no, there is no excuse to endanger the lives of millions which is why citizens of New York and even the entire country need to fight in order to close down Indian Point Power Plant and avoid the drastic events that could take place if the plant were to stay open. Pollution is one of the main reasons why Indian Point is not safe and should not be allowed a renewed license. Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo, who is against the renewal of the power plants license, and his administration stated how “The Indian Point Plant uses up to 2.5 billion gallons of water from the Hudson per day as a coolant, cycling back into the river”
(Hakim). This is a huge health problem to not only New York but to every area that the river runs through, as well as the fish that live in the river and the animals that drink from it. It's amazing that this has continued to go unpunished and it's time the Hudson stops paying for the atrocities of Indian Point. Riverkeeper, an advocacy group for New York's clean water exclaims how the power plant is running out of room to place their spent fuel, “IP's storage pools are already overfilled with spent fuel rods from the last 40 years of operations. The spent fuel pools are also leaking radioactive water into the ground and the Hudson River” (Riverkeeper). The fuel used holds radiation levels that are very dangerous and can eventually kill, whether it's long term or short term, anybody who somehow consumes enough of it. Radiation pollution, such as the spent fuel rods, have killed many people in previous events and poses a huge threat. The power plant is a danger to the environment and if it continues to run, who knows how much unrepairable damage will be done to the environment. Pollution is a big reason why Indian Point must be shut down before too much damage is done. Another reason why Indian Point needs to be terminated is because of its horrible placement and the possibility of an earthquake or another kind of natural disaster striking the power plant. Indian Point just so happened to be built on an earthquake fault line and Lynn Sykes, an emeritus geologist at Columbia University insists, “the earthquake risk to the plant is much greater than Entergy, the company who owns the plant, or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have calculated” (Revkin). New York should be more aware of the dangers of the power plant and the citizens need to know the dangers that could be results if an earthquake were to strike the power plant. Another statement was released that, “The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission revised its estimates of earthquake risk in 2010, concluding that Indian Point is the most likely nuke plant in the nation to experience core damage due to an earthquake.”
(Riverkeeper). If Indian Point is the most likely nuclear plant in the nation to experience core damage due to earthquakes, then why is the plant still have a license and why is it still running? The only answer to this is it shouldn't have a license and shouldn't be running because every day the plant is putting millions of people in danger. Many people argue that there are very small chances of a large enough earthquake striking the power plant, but those same people can look back at a recent earthquake that ended up hitting a power plant. On the day of March 11, 2011, Japan was hit by a 9.0 earthquake that caused severe damage to not only the northeastern part of Japan but also to the Fukushima Power Plant. In result to this there were radiation leaks that ended up killed many people (McCurry). An event such as this could easily take place in New York that could kill thousands, even millions of people. Indian Point must be shut down before an earthquake or some other form of natural disasters strikes the power plant. A danger that accompanies the power plant is the possibility of a man made catastrophe taking place. The world was shocked as they watched two planes bring down the Twin Towers and kill thousands of people. Now think of the possibility of attack happening on Indian Point, not to far away from where the Twin Towers once stood, but instead of killing thousands of people, it kills millions of them. According to a video by “Shut Down Indian Point Now,” an organization led by the people of New York against the renewal of the power plant, “Indian Point contains the radioactive material of 1000 Hiroshima bombs” (Indian Point and Fukushima). If the event happened in which an attack hit the power plant then the result would be catastrophic. So catastrophic that it would most likely wipe out all of New York as well as the states surrounding it, throwing the US into chaos. Almost everybody knows of the damage that one nuclear bomb did to the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, now think of 1000 of those going off all at once. The U.S can't allow an event like this to take place which is why the government needs to step in and
demand that the plant be shut down right away. An event that has taken place at multiple places is the meltdown of one or more nuclear reactors. An event such as this can be caused by workers not being safe and paying little attention to signs that would hint at a meltdown, making it the workers fault. A infamous example of this is the Chernobyl Power Plant, “According to early documentation of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor meltdown, the catastrophe exposed 30,000 people living near the reactor to about 45 rem of radiation each -- about the same radiation level experienced by the survivors of the Hiroshima bomb” (Zehner). Chernobyl is still effecting many people and deaths are still being recorded that were caused from the melt down at Chernobyl. The number of deaths is now in the tens of thousands range as well as kids being still being diagnosed with diseases they contracted from their parents before they were born. If a meltdown were to occur at Indian Point, the result would be thousands of times larger than what took place at Chernobyl, due to the large population less than 50 miles away, and will effect generations and generations to come. By renewing the plants license, the government won't just be putting the present generation in danger but also future generations which is why the plant must close. Critics for the renewal of the power plant talk about cost and how if the plant were to close then the cost will skyrocket. According to a projection by Consolidated Edison: “If both Indian Point reactors were to close, wholesale electricity prices would rise about 12 percent, or $1.4 billion a year” (Wald). These statistics only come through the prices that customers are paying directly for the electricity. The fact of the matter is that people don't know the price behind the production of power plants, “Every single nuclear plant in the United States was built with taxpayer help. It costs hundreds of millions of dollars to carefully assemble a nuclear power plant” (Zehner). There are costs that only the government and the power plant know about which they don't want the public to know. In the end the cost of Indian Point is much larger than what people
think and are told. There is more though, “Historically, as the United States added more nuclear energy capacity to its arsenal, the incremental costs of further expanding capacity didn't go down, as might be expected, but rather went up, reports energy policy scholar Gregory F. Nemet” (Zehner). Costs of building and maintaining a power plant are extremely high and although the consumer might believe that it is cheap to pay for nuclear power, they are really paying more. There are alternative means of power that would be much safer than Indian Point. Two forms of environmental efficient power are wind and solar power. When used together, studies show that these forms of power are very productive and when used together wind and solar power, “demonstrate the maximum penetration achievable in the grid managed by the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), by wind- and solar-power independently, and when they are combined. By optimizing the synergy between these two intermittent resources, a maximum penetration of renewable-energy in the grid can be accomplished” (Nikolakakis). These are studies taken directly from the state of New York and shows very productive results. Both use renewable energy and pose no threat to the United States. There are a lot benefits of renewable energy, “Benefits that are relevant to utilities and their rate payers include traditional, measures of energy and capacity. Benefits that are tangible to tax payers include environmental, fuel price mitigation, outage risk protection, and long-term economic growth components” (Perez). The benefits behind renewable power are much better than those behind nuclear power. Earthquakes won't cause enormous disasters if they hit it and an attack would result in just a loss of power instead of a loss of life. These forms of energy are also environmental friendly, where they won't cycle radioactive water into the Hudson River and won't cycle radioactive fumes into the air. Overall, the idea of wind and solar power is much smarter than nuclear power which is why the switch from nuclear to renewable energy should be made.
Critics of the power plant also argue about the reliability, and how without a Indian Point a majority of New York will be prone to power outs. For example, the chief operating officer of the New York Independent System Operator told a state senate committee that “up to 2.1 million customers in Southern New York would be vulnerable to power interruptions from 2016 to 2020 if Indian Point shut down” (Wald). It is impossible to show what the reliability will for certain be like, but studies have also shown how wind power, solar power and even water power are very productive and reliable. First off, common sense is that at any given point in the day there will be wind, sun, and there will definitely always be water. What about when the world runs out of the scarce materials used in power plants, then where will the reliability for the powering of New York be? Studies have shown that wind, solar and water power are excellent alternatives, “Altogether, they may become a long-term physical constraint, preventing the continuation of the usual exponential growth of energy consumption” (Garcia-Olivares). The key word in this study is long term and how people of today need to look ahead instead of focusing on what's happening now. People need to look at future generations and at the safety of their kids and grand kids, etc. Indian Point must be shut down and replaced with renewable-energy to ensure safety and long term, future growth. Indian Point needs to be shut down right away in order to ensure safety of the United States. It presents environmental dangers as well as safety issues when it comes to terrorist attacks, leaks, melt downs, etc. It has been proven that renewable-energy sources, such as wind, solar or water power can be used to replace and even possibly do a better job than the nuclear power plant. The country must look back on prior disastrous events that have taken place, whether it's the melt down of a reactor at Chernobyl or an earthquake and tsunami hitting Fukushima, power plants are full of only negative features. In the beginning a statement was made about what is more
important, cheaper costs and better reliability or the lives of millions of human beings. Throughout this essay many facts show that if the plant is shut down and renewable-energy replaces it, the customers will get both reliability and cheap costs, as well as being able to keep all of their lives. The government and the power plant workers need to realize the unnecessary danger they present to all of the millions of citizens and ultimately decide to shut down Indian Point Power Plant.
Works Cited: Hakim, Danny. "Cuomo Takes Tough Stance on Nuclear Reactors." New York Times. 28 June
2011. Web. 5 Feb. 2012. Revkin, Andrew C. "A Fresh Look at Nuclear Power, from Fukushima to the Hudson." New York Times. 17 Jan. 2012. Web. 5 Feb. 2012. Wald, Matthew L. "If Indian Point Closes, Plenty of Challenges." New York Times. 13 July 2011. Web. 5 Feb. 2012. "Top Ten Reasons To Close Indian Point." Riverkeeper.org. Aldenta. Web. 1 May 2012. Zehner, Ozzie. "Nuclear Power's Unsettled Future." EBSCOhost.com. Mar.-Apr. 2012. Web. 1 May 2012. Perez, Richard. "Solar Power Generation in the US: Too Expensive or a Bargain?" EBSCOhost.com. Nov. 2011. Web. 1 May 2012. Nikolakakis, Thomas. "The Optimum Mix of Electricity from Wind- and Solar-sources in Conventional Power Systems: Evaluating the Case for New York State." EBSCOhost.com. Nov. 2011. Web. 1 May 2012. Garcia-Olivares, Antonio. "A Global Renewable Mix with Proven Technologies and Common Materials." EBSCOhost.com. Feb. 2012. Web. 1 May 2012. Indian Point and Fukushima. Youtube. Google, 27 June 2011. Web. 3 Mar. 2011. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tkpq6FKpq0>.
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