The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the environmental group Riverkeeper commissioned a report from Synapse Energy Economics (an energy consulting firm) on energy alternatives to the Indian Point Energy Center, a 2,000 megawatt nuclear power plant in Westchester County, New York.
A second risk analysis report by NRDC compares the human and financial costs of the Fukushima disaster to the potential risks of a nuclear crisis at Indian Point, and reveals that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) still underestimates the danger posed to Indian Point from seismic activity. An accident at one of Indian Point’s reactors on the scale of the recent catastrophe in Japan could send a fallout plume south to the New York City metropolitan area, require the sheltering or evacuation of millions of people, and cost ten to 100 times more than Fukushima’s disaster.
Our analysis shows that a wide range of options are available to make the transition to a safe, sustainable energy future for New York without Indian Point. These options include energy efficiency, renewable energy such as wind and solar power, new transmission projects, and repowering old, inefficient existing natural gas plants. All of these energy options could be implemented within the next ten years, many even earlier.
Due to the current surplus in electricity capacity in New York State and New York City, even if Indian Point were to shut down in 2015 when its operating licenses expire, there is no need to add further energy generation until 2020 to address electricity reliability concerns, which allows plenty of time to bring on more sustainable energy alternatives.