Indian Point Power Plant to Cease Production After 2021


The power plant played a major role in powering Westchester County. (Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Indian Point has been a subject for contention as long as it has existed. The nuclear power plant with three units, two operational presently, has existed for a little over 40 years. It is located on the Hudson River roughly 36 miles away from Manhattan.

Some view nuclear power as the solution to the world’s energy problems in the long run, and others deem it as needlessly wasting resources, producing waste detrimental to the environment, and having the potential for nuclear disaster. The current plan, as announced by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, is for the power plant to shut down operations by 2021. This entails a huge amount of logistical changes due to happen in the upcoming time.

The closure was a concession due to legal issues and cases pending against the plant for numerous reasons, such as proximity to the city and the fact that contaminated water had in fact leaked into the ground water surrounding the area, as revealed by Governor Cuomo in February of 2016. The present owners, Entergy, have spent over a billion dollars on the plant but the closure is part of the process they agreed to.

The dismantling of the plant is going to require an expenditure of money as well to ensure that the process is done as safely and securely as humanly as possible. Entergy is even considering selling the plant before the closure date to a company that specializes in dismantling nuclear power plants, but whether that happens remains to be seen.

The questions that arise are the implications that such a closure will have. Roughly 1,000 people work at the plant presently, and those jobs will be lost due to the closure and will hurt some families in the county. According to a study done in 2015 by the National Energy Institute, roughly 10,700 jobs are actually in existence due to the plant. That same study revealed that Indian Point was a huge economic contributor both to the state and county.

One of the largest issues, however, is the fact that the plant does indeed provide a huge source of energy for the state and Westchester County. Governor Cuomo has proposed the gap left will be replaced by solar, wind, and other alternative fuel sources. This will lead to a potential short-term energy gap, as the other alternatives take longer and are in the planning stages at this point.

The alternative sources would include a process called “storage,” which is utilizing containers to house excess energy when supply is more than the demand, and then relying on that saved supply to help with present energy needs. However, Governor Cuomo has also planned for the short-term energy gap to be supplemented with energy sources from Canada, and New York aims to keep itself sustained while the natural gas, wind, and solar, and other energy sources are constructed.

The Governor does have a plan, and often times the long-term impacts take prevalence over the short run gains or losses. At present, the plan in action is sound, the situation is controlled, and the state is not expected to have an energy crisis upon the closure of the plant.

Leave a Reply