Thingish Things

The Nuclear Debate Returns

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Mar• 13•11

Looks like the country is about to have a big conversation again about energy; this time not just about our dependence on foreign oil, but on the vulnerabilities of nuclear power plants as well.

Nuclear power had been making a major comeback in public opinion in the U.S.  The situation in Japan will halt that in its tracks.

Here in New York, we can expect the debate to focus on the Indian Point nuclear plant in Buchanan, NY – 25 miles northwest of New York City – which provides Westchester County (almost one million residents) and New York City (8 million) with a full 30% of their energy.  The plant is up for federal recertification in 2013 and Governor Cuomo already has said he opposes it.

But where will the energy come from to replace it?

New York doesn’t even have a site selection law on the books to locate new power plants, several of which would be needed to replace Indian Point.  Its so-called Article X siting law expired years ago over arguments that energy-generating plants have been disproportionately placed in low-income areas.  Proposals for new oil and gas pipelines and natural gas drilling are routinely blocked in court by Not-in-My-Back-Yard opponents or concerned environmentalists. Fantastical technologies have fizzled.

There are no easy answers here.  But I wouldn’t be surprised if nuclear power prevails in the end, despite how we feel about it on this day in history.


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