Rift Widens Between Bloomberg, Cuomo on Indian Point Nuclear Plant

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (L) and Governor Andrew Cuomo (R) Mayor Michael Bloomberg (L) and Governor Andrew Cuomo (R) (Pool Photo/Getty/Mario Tama/Getty)

The disagreement between Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg over the future of the controversial Indian Point nuclear power station in upstate New York appears to be growing, as indicated by a draft study commissioned by the mayor's administration and obtained by WNYC.

A copy of the document — which examines the likely consequences of closing Indian Point — warns that developing a replacement for the facility "should be well underway now" if the reactors are to be shut down when their operating licenses expire in 2013 and 2015.

Cuomo is strongly opposed to re-licensing the plant. No replacement plants are currently under construction.

The report, prepared by Charles River Associates, also says New Yorkers' energy bills would rise because of the cost of building replacement power plants. The total cost of wholesale electricity would go up 5 to 10 percent, according to the report.

In a point-by-point rebuttal, the Cuomo administration took issue with the reports' methodology and conclusions. Cuomo believes the real increase in consumer electric bills would be in the 2.5 percent to 5 percent range.

"The wholesale increase is a misleading and inaccurate indicator of the actual retail cost impact," the statement said.

Bloomberg has voiced skepticism that New York City can do without the 2,000 megawatts in power — roughly a quarter of the city's energy consumption — that Indian Point provides.

But Robert Catell, an advisor to the governor, said new sources of energy could be brought online in a relatively short period of time.

Catell, recently appointed as a member of Cuomo's High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel, said the answer would likely involve increasing transmission capacity, so more hydropower from Canada can be imported, and building new natural gas plants, similar to the recently-opened Caithness plant on Long Island, which was built in just over two years.

"It's operating very successfully at very high efficiencies and very low emissions, so I think to think about replacing Indian Point, gas fired combined-cycle would have to be at least one of the possibilities," said Catell, chairman of the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center at SUNY-Stony Brook and former CEO of National Grid.

Catell added that a shutdown should not be permitted unless there is ready replacement capacity.


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Comments [6]

Energy Reality from Long Island

Interesting that Catell thinks Indian Point could be relaced in short order partly by combined cycle gas plants. Didn't he pursue such a plan at Spagnoli Rd. in Melville, LI almost 10 years ago and that plant is still no where to be found. He also forgets that Caithness took at least a few more years to come to reality before they began construction.

Jul. 14 2011 04:21 PM
John Wheeler from Highland, NY

I love how anti-nuclear activists continue to reference the AP article that has been repeatedly debunked by the NRC and others.

As far as whether or not Indian Point is needed for grid reliability, don't listen to Entergy, Cuomo, or Bloomberg. Instead go to the New York ISO, an independent not for profit whose job it is to keep the grid reliable. They say the grid will be unacceptably unreliable, brown outs and black outs more frequent if the plant shuts down.

Jul. 10 2011 01:22 AM
Truth from NYC

Below are the actual energy figures from NYISO for NY and what Indian Point provides. You only have to do the math. NYISO reports that the requirements for NY for Summer 2011 are 37,782 MW while the total resources available for Summer 2011 are 43,068 MW, Indian Point is contracted for 560 MW. Indian Point is not at all needed, Entergy is just trying to frighten the public into thinking there would be a black out so they can keep making money by selling the electricity to places as far away as Canada. We are tricked into taking the risk so that Entergy can continue to rake in money from an aging and leaking plant. The NY State DEC and the AP investigation reports that the plant is leaking radioactivity into the environment. No safety upgrades, too costly just exemptions. The people of NY are getting more and more educated on this topic despite the massive PR firm that spins the Entergy message. All the facts can be read at

Jul. 08 2011 04:36 PM
vaporland from colorado

if the plant suffers a catastrophic failure, you can be sure that any "increase in consumer electric bills" would be well beyond the 2.5 percent to 5 percent range...

it's like driving your car home faster when the oil light comes on - usually doesn't end well...

Jul. 08 2011 02:22 PM
suzan Frecon from NYC & PA

Can we please conserve energy?
That is the answer.
All around me every day I see Americans wasting energy. They drive big gas guzzlers and use them for every little errand, even just to go buy a cappuccino! And the waste of air conditioning is unbelievable! When it hot outside I have to always carry a sweater for being inside!
And where I work people leave them on with their windows open! Stores in the city leave their doors open in summer with A/C blasting out into the streets! And on and on...

Jul. 08 2011 06:53 AM
Steve L. from New York

The debate about closing Indian Point was over on 6/28/2011, regardless of whether we need the power.

On that day, the Associated Press published the results of a year long study that included interviews with the engineers that designed Indian Point and other old nuke plants (link below). They unequivocally reported that critical nuclear plant components (reactor vessels, containment structures, etc.) were only designed for a maximum 40 year life, period.

This virtually guarantees catastrophic failure if operation continues beyond Indian Point's original 40 year license.

Obviously there is no justification to continue plant operation now that the engineers that built the plant have clearly warned us: continuing operation of Indian Point will lead to inevitable failure and certain radioactive exposure to our population.

Jul. 07 2011 08:07 PM

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