Monday, April 27, 2015

FERC Plan To Limit Overpopulation?

Indian Point on the Hudson River
"A very large gas pipeline will soon skirt the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC), an aging nuclear power plant that stands in the town of Cortlandt in Westchester County, New York, 30 miles north of Manhattan. The federal agencies that have permitted the project have bowed to two corporations -- the pipeline's owner, Spectra Energy, and Entergy, which bought the Indian Point complex in 2001 from its former owner." (HuffPo, emphasis added).

This situation ignores sea level rise (SLR) and flooding dangers, not to mention the Safety 101 notion of not stacking risk upon risk ("don't put all of your eggs in one basket"):
Paul Blanch is a professional engineer with nearly five decades of experience in nuclear safety, engineering operations and federal regulatory requirements. He has security clearance for his work, and is a nuclear industry proponent. He has worked with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission since its inception and for utility corporations across the United States, including Entergy. He also works pro bono for nuclear safety and has been doing this for the town of Cortlandt and local organizations including the grassroots group, Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Extension (SAPE), which has been fighting AIM for the past year and a half.

"I've had over 45 years of nuclear experience and [experience in] safety issues," Blanch told Truthout. "I have never seen [a situation] that essentially puts 20 million residents at risk, plus the entire economics of the United States by making a large area surrounding Indian Point uninhabitable for generations. I'm not an alarmist and haven't been known as an alarmist, but the possibility of a gas line interacting with a plant could easily cause a Fukushima type of release."

The potential hazards of the AIM construction near IPEC are no longer hypothetical. On March 3, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the AIM project in its entirety, from New York to the Canadian border.
(Truthout, emphasis added). The cities that have considered the SLR issue (Sea Level Rise: Impact on Energy Infrastructure) have evidently been alarmist, in the eyes of FERC, which seems to embrace "What, me worry?" policy (like FEMA at New Orleans a la Katrina).

Perhaps they want to be patted on the butt and told they are "doin' a heckuva job" by the High Priest in Chief.

I mention SLR in this context because the Hudson River is impacted by tides:
"The lower half of the river is a tidal estuary ... Tidal waters influence the Hudson's flow from as far north as Troy [north of Albany, >100 mi inland] ... it is an estuary throughout most of its length below Troy and thus only a small fraction of fresh water ... is present ... The Hudson River estuary system is part of The National Estuarine Research Reserve System as the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve."
(Wikipedia, emphasis added; cf Hudson River Estuary). Can it be said of FERC that they are unaware of any dangers or risks which are being ignored?

It is said of such estuaries:
"Severe storms, climate change, pollution, habitat alteration and rapid population growth threaten the ecological functions that have supported coastal communities throughout history."
(National Estuarine Research Reserve, emphasis added). The plant operator did not properly consider the environment when it contemplated using water from the Hudson:
During the summer, the sprawling nuclear power plant here draws up to 2.5 billion gallons of water each day from the Hudson River to operate.

Over the course of a year, the plant, known as Indian Point Energy Center, sucks in about 1 billion tiny fish, including river herring, bay anchovy and striped bass, and their eggs. The water is discharged back into the river.

The plant's reliance on the Hudson River and its impact on aquatic life are at the center of a dispute between state regulators and Indian Point's operator, Entergy Corp.
(WSJ, emphasis added). Safety, environment, and pollution seem to be little more than afterthoughts to the plant operator and the federal agencies that are "regulating" the nuclear plant, and endangering 20 million Americans.

High water threatened nuclear power plants during Hurricane Sandy ("water levels from the Hudson River ... reached 9 feet 8 inches") then went back down.

With SLR, there is no going back down, there is only incessant SLR, with no intermittent, temporary impact to fall back on.

Evidently, the powers that be do not have the capacity to believe the inevitable (FERC it!).


  1. "The US Energy Department prepares a wave of LNG gas permits in the latest move to redraw the world's oil and gas landscape ... four LNG export terminals are under construction and the first wave of shipments may begin before the end of this year or in early 2016 at the latest." (link)

    Obviously they are building those export facilites at sea level.

  2. Even if the federales wise up and decide to shut down plants, the operators do not seem to have enough money to do it (Radioactive and Short on Cash to Pay for Closures).

  3. Explosion etc. not long after this article (link, link, link, link).

  4. Great post. Just one small addition. Can we change:

    "A very large gas pipeline will soon skirt the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC), an aging nuclear power plant..."


    "A pair of rusty, 60 year old high-pressure gas pipelines run through the middle of the Indian Point Energy Center TODAY..."

    IPEC was built on top of an existing natural gas pipeline, which is still in service. Let me assure you that the risk this presents TODAY *far* outweighs any risk from a PROPOSED pipeline...

    1. Bill Huston,

      Do you have a link for that?

      Google shows no links on anything that mentions a gas pipeline on the site.

    2. He has a blog (Bill Huston's Blog) which seems to focus on these issues.

      Until I find out otherwise, I will trust this Citizen Journalist over McTell News.