Intelligent Energy

Closing imperiled NY nuke plant has modest cost

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Closing the Indian Point nuclear power plant could cost the typical New Yorker less than 18 cents per day. The plant is located in a fault zone just 35 miles outside of New York City.

The Indian Point nuclear power plant is located just 35 miles outside of New York City - within the exclusion zone U.S. authorities have recommended for Japan.

Closing a controversial nuclear power plant that’s located near New York City -- in a fault zone -- will cost residents just an additional 18 cents per day on their electric bills, according to news reports.

Consolidated Edison, the city’s public utility company, told CNN that the closure of the Indian Point Energy Center would run the typical resident approximately US$65 per year. That is equivalent to buying fewer than five packs of cigarettes at a bodega.

Indian Point is the longstanding bête noire of activists and nuclear watchdogs in the Empire State. The nuclear crisis in Japan has heightened criticism of the facility, which requires relicensing to continue its operations.

The facility, which supplies the state with up to 30 percent of its energy needs, has recently requested over 100 exemptions from fire codes.

Indian Point resides just 35 miles from New York City, and is now the government’s top priority in a post Fukushima review of the seismic risks facing U.S. nuclear power plants. An accident holds the potential to be catastrophic.

Manhattan and its surrounding boroughs have a high population density: The 2010 census tallied 8,175,133 people living in the city proper. The official count may be even higher.

That number does not include residents of north Jersey and Long island, who would fall just outside of the exclusion zone that the Japanese government has put in place around Fukushima.

The entire city and much of its surrounding suburbs – including exclusive beach communities and business centers -- would be enveloped if the U.S. government’s recommendation of a 50-mile exclusion zone were being enforced. Evacuation would not be an option.

Have you ever tried leaving Long Island during rush hour traffic under “normal” conditions? Salvation would come down to just a few vital bridges and tunnels in and around Manhattan. Forget about an evacuation – it’s just not happening.

Speaking as a New Yorker, $65 is a bargain to me; the human suffering and impact on the national economy would cost us far more than it would to shutter Indian Point. There are newer, better technologies - both nuclear and renewable. Let's use them.

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David Worthington

Contributing Editor

David Worthington has written for BetaNews, eWeek, PC World, Technologizer and ZDNet. Formerly, he was a senior editor at SD Times. He holds a business degree from Temple University. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure