A rebuttal to a rebuttal
In his March 20, letter Sidney Harring states that “Of all things New [Yorkers] might criticize the two Cuomo governors for, I think the closing of the Indian Point power plant and the blocking of the [Shoreham] plant are low on the list.” Would that be all New Yorkers? Most? Some?
The meltdowns at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl were caused by gross negligence and deliberate misconduct; they were totally preventable. The Fukashima meltdown, caused by a natural disaster, was made worse by human error. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima–Daiichi–nuclear–disaster–(Unit–3–Reactor), paragraph 4.)
Not to make light of these disasters, the rest of the commercial nuclear reactor fleet has an excellent safety record.
Harring states that the world then began to abandon nuclear energy; his remark is insincere. While the U.S., Japan and Germany have put their construction plans on hold, other countries like China and India are building more nuclear power plants.
In his March 20 letter he states “…the wind is always blowing and the sun is always shining – somewhere, and by 2050, we can have the benefit of this.” This statement is misleading. At any given location there is neither wind nor sun all of the time.
I then looked at the Princeton study Harring cited and only one of the five scenarios calls for completely carbon-free and fission-free energy production. Is it this scenario, the most costly and most unreliable one of all, that he envisions?
Harring believes it’s unrealistic for New York to generate all of its electricity within its boundaries. He states that “No system anywhere is America, not even Texas, is this localized.” Not true (see https://www.texastribune.org/2011/02/08/texplainer-why-does-texas-have-its-own-power-grid/ ).
I actually designed a system using solar panel arrays and pumped storage (https://www.leaderherald.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/2019/09/solar-energy-is-a-losingproposition-for-the-ratepayers/) to replace the 2000 megawatts of lost capacity at Indian Point. It would require about 200 square miles of land and about 10 Blenheim-Gilboa-sized pumped-storage plants. It’s cost? About $40 billion. According to New York Independent System Operator New York requires about 14,000 megawatts of baseload capacity; do the math.
New York does have a clean and mostly-untapped energy resource, Marcellus Shale gas, that would help close its energy gap. The only reason why it hasn’t been fully developed for electricity production is because of a lack of political will, not a lack of technology.
CHARLES F. HEIMERDINGER