A National Academy of Sciences Report released yesterday indicated that there are no insurmountable technological obstacles to closing the Indian Point nuclear reactors in Westchester County, New York, although there are difficult political, regulatory, financial and institutional issues that have to be overcome to compensate for the loss of Indian Point's 2,000 megawatts of power.
Congresswoman Nita Lowey found the report very encouraging. She stated, "To me, the bottom line is, where there's a will there's a way [to close the plant]." Lowey said that the report shows that Indian Point is not necessary for meeting future power needs, despite estimations of a growing need for electricity. "A combination of strategies can replace the power produced by the plants and meet the state's growing need for electricity."
As the report points out, one of the best ways to save energy is through energy efficiency measures. Even the U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman last year indicated that U.S. homes waste about 30% of their energy because of things such as inefficient lighting and appliances, and poor insulation.
The two Indian Point plants will close unless they are relicensed by 2013 and 2015, which provides plenty of time to overcome the political, financial, regulatory and institutional issues.
Interestingly, the headline writers for the two major regional papers spun the report very differently. The headline in the June 7 Journal News, the local Gannett paper, stated: "Scientists Say Indian Point Power Replaceable." By contrast, The New York Times, in its morning June 7 newspaper stated: "U.S. Science Panel Sees Big Problems if Indian Point Reactors Are Closed." But even The Times seemed to waffle, since an earlier headline in the June 6 web edition stated: "N.Y. Grid Could Stand to Lose Reactors, Panel Says."
The National Academy of Sciences report is available for download. Its headline reads "Replacing Indian Point Nuclear Energy Feasible."