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January 09, 2009


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H. Springer

I've written privately to author Mike DiPaola, to complain about the overt deception that is the main thrust of this Bloomberg piece. It's a drama piece replete with unsupported inference, inuendo, and political nudging, and flies in the face of reality. It is best described as a wish-manifesto, presenting anti-nuclear exaggeration as "fact", and is thus a delinquent , and unhelpful piece of bombast.

Even it's trivial errors are telling. The Indian Point domes are not "rust scarred", and the chimney used for the site heating & hot water is not "derelict", as Di Paola fantasizes, but is in daily 24-7-365 use.

But the crumbling papier-mache' Indian Point so irresponsibly sketched by Mr. Di Paola DOES exist somewhere. It exists in the imaginations of foundation-paid propagandists and compromised media hacks hewing to the 1970's-based anti-nuclear "reality" popularized in anti-nuke concerts of thirty years ago, before the second great depression revealed our absolute dependence on this well-run, dependable, and well-nigh invisible life-enhancing service. 70% of regional residents have no fear of Indian Point, and 100% of regional residents use its service. So for just whom do Mr. Di Paola, & Mr. Musegaas speak?

Mr. Musegaas of Riverkeeper is attempting to "hold the fort", after his predecessors Robert F. Kennedy jr., Kyle Rabin and Lisa Rainwater have wisely abandoned the issue, and moved on to truer, more green pursuits. Musegaas is an alumnus and still an associate of the rabidly antinuke G.R.A.C.E. foundation , a foundation with a $256 million dollar propaganda war chest from its controlling overlord, the Tamarind Foundation, dedicated to obliteration of all things nuclear, as if the process which heats the core of the earth could somehow be declared "evil", and rendered non-existent by vanity propaganda funded by a single woman.... aging cosmetics heiress Helaine Heilbrunn Lerner, who owns both entities.

Meanwhile the people have moved on. The move may not have been 100% voluntary, but under new economic realities, quibbling over small factoids is looking more & more like a luxury, and now reveals itself as the vanity pursuit of a small, paid, unrepresentative clique, rather than some viable solution for society at large.

But Mike Di Paola enlists , and signs up whole cloth to the Tamarind cause, to push a vanity position now held by fewer and fewer informed citizens. Mr. Musegaas says what he says because its his job to say these things. Without "worrisome" issues, his 501(C)(3) collections organization might experience a drying up of funding, so Musegaas slogs on alone, rather like the forlorn Japanese soldiers found still in their Saipan foxholes in 1970.

Are your lights on? Does your furnace warm your home? Is your local hospital, Police force, & Fire Department functioning? Do the commuter trains run? Are the malls lit? Are your grocery store's freezers still cold? If you answer "Yes", just remember it's Indian Point supplying up to 40% of their power, with zero carbon, zero smoke, dependably now for over 35 years.

And remember too, that it is Mr. Di Paola ( and Mr. Musegaas) sketching out "negatives" for you, which may not exist in reality.

And then YOU decide.

H. Springer

I noticed in revisiting "On Hudson" , that I failed to address the so-called "dead fish" issue.

New York State DEC has declared for decades that the issue is too small to be of consequence. Only recently, under the Spitzer/Cuomo/Paterson regime has it issued an unresearched blanket statement, contravening its long-held (and well researched) former position.

I have tried to apply some dimensional analysis, to aid readers in gaining some idea of how large or small the issue might really be, when taken from a factual, rather than a political point of view.

Let us clear up some facts intentionally clouded, by those wishing to maximize the impact of a basically flawed argument. First off, let us take a hydroelectric dam, blocking its river from shore-to-shore, leaving as the only possible route downstream, the path directly through its turbines. If that river has fish in it, they will be impacted, and any attempts to divert them can never be 100% effective. Fish will undoubtedly be injured.

Let us now consider an open, undammed river, with a power plant on one shore, taking cooling water in through an intake grate of perhaps 8 feet high, and 15 feet wide, in a small man-made bay on one shore.It is readily seen that the vast preponderance of river water passes by unaffected, and does not enter the grate. In fact, a mere 30 to 50 feet out in the stream, no suction can be felt towards the grate, and its effect is strictly local, being limited to perhaps a 50 foot half-circle centered on the grate. Beyond the half-circle, river water flows past the intake too strongly to be diverted, and misses the intake entirely.

Examining the habits of fish, one would have to find a species which aggressively seeks out the shoreline, in order for that species to come near enough to the intake grate to be impacted. Moreover only a small percentage of even the most shore-seeking species will seek out that particular expanse of shore , as opposed to the remaining 315+ miles of West shore, and 315+ miles of East shore. Assuming every fish crossing into the the 50 foot half circle gets sucked in, still, that means only one thousandth of one percent of all fish on the river are affected.

But.... many fish do not seek the shoreline. Many fish, including the anadromous shad, keep to the midriver deeps when both swimming upsteam to spawn, foraging as fry, and migrating back to sea. This means that one thousandth of one percent is a grossly inflated upper bound, for what percent of these species ever encounter the intake ports of a shore-bound power plant. Uninvolved civilian residents in the immediate vicinity of Indian Point report that they never see dead fish corpses floating in the Hudson, or washed up on the shore. Workers at the plant claim that fish are harmlessly diverted by an intentionally installed fish-diversion weir.

As far as fish eggs, Hudson river fish drop their spawn in historic pebble beds far to the north of Indian Point, so that they hatch long before coming south enough to be near Indian Point. It takes 126 days, according to the Lamont Doherty Laboratory, for Hudson river water to clear the estuary. If shad drop eggs near Troy, and they hatch within 10 days, this means they hatch a mere 10 divided by 126, or 7.9% of the way downriver, in the vicinity of Castleton N.Y..Once hatched, the lively fry seek out the midriver deeps, to feed on plankton, and thus never come anywhere near Indian Point.

The fresh water-salt water division line lies north of West Point, so that ALL of the species spawning in fresh water do so far from Indian Point. The brackish (slightly salty) water peculiar to the Peekskill region does not support the spawning of saltwater species either, who prefer salt marshes such as exist far downriver. In fact, the brackish middle reaches of the Hudson near Indian Point are naturally scrubbed of aquatic life, by the constant changes in salinity, thus relieving Indian Point of responsibility for the phenomenon.

These particularities tend to untrack the vague Riverkeeper accusation that "billions of fish" are "slaughtered" by Indian Point. Had Riverkeeper, or their new friends at the NYS DEC had some actual data to back up the accusation, then DEC's blanket statement could be viewed as a statement of need.

Without any onsite investigation, DEC's statement must be viewed as a mere statement of their own intent. They intend to attack Indian Point, so, without any research, they simply declare that "billions of fish" are killed.

Why do this??.....DEC deputy administrator J. Jared Snyder may enhance his personal career visibility, DEC can be viewed in public arenas as proactive, and Riverkeeper can be viewed by its public as worthy of cash contributions,... none of which has any protective value for any Hudson river fish, or the river, or the local inhabitants.

This specious argument is being fielded because of agency needs of both Riverkeeper and NYS DEC. Riverkeeper needs a campaign issue, to continue to seem relevant. Simultaneously, personnel at NYS DEC wish to pass through the whitewater shoals of Albany's gubernatorial changes with their jobs intact, and so have crafted a pseudo-document, declaring dead fish to exist. This new statement, interestingly enough, directly contravenes 20 years of DEC research data taken under prior state political regimes. Answer me this: Does Democratic Party "No Data" trump Republican Party "Yes Data"? No, it can not. Only new data could do so, and none has been gathered.

For those wishing to encounter the truth, free of agency hype, some factual calculations are in order. We have already limited the amount of fish ever encountering Indian Point by the shoreline area method, to less than one thousandth of one percent. Stony Brook U. provides us with another completely independent method.... the water mass method.... to come to a very similar result. See below:

According to the State University at Stony Brook, at URL

The majority of water flow in the Hudson estuary is tidal, amounting to some 425,000 cubic feet per second at the battery. Fresh flow is much less, reaching a maximum of 30,000 cubic feet per second in April. The estuary flushes itself every 126 days. That is to say, after 126 days, all the water is new.

At its maximum, 425000 plus 30000 gives 455000 cubic feet per second total water flow, fresh plus tidal. 126 days contain 10,886,400 seconds. Therefore a rough calculation of the total mass of water in the estuary equals: (455000 cubic feet/second) X ( 10,886,400 seconds) = 49,533,122,000,000 cubic feet of water.

Indian Point's circulating Water Pumps are 140,000 GPM pumps. There are 12 pumps ( all 12 are seldom used at once). 140,000 GPM is 2333 gallons per second. (2333) X (12 pumps) = 28,000 gallons per second, or 3740 cubic feet per second intake water for both units running at ultra maximum capacity. If all 12 pumps are run for the entire 126 days needed to replace the estuary water, (one flush) they will process 40,715,136,000 cubic feet of that water.

(40,715,136,000) divided by ( 49,533,122,000,000) = 0.008
At its maximum capacity, Indian Point touches less than one percent of the Hudson estuary's water. (Also, Indian Point's water intakes almost never run at maximum capacity.)

That means that 99% of the estuary's water mass never encounters Indian Point. To a fish, or an egg floating in the estuary that means more than 99% live their entire lives as if Indian Point did not exist.

To give up the 2000+ megawatts powering New York's stock exchange, Metro North, Yankee Stadium, the Meadowlands, Madison Square Garden, every single shopping mall, every hospital, all police forces and fire departments, and all the local airports to save 1% of the fish larvae may seem worthwhile to dedicated career ecologists, who want to see every egg miss Indian Point, but it may not be worthwhile to anyone else, not even to the fish.

Fish lay eggs in a vast overkill, to compensate for predation and bad luck. Fish eggs are in no way comparable to human babies. Fish eggs are more accurately compared to human spermatozoa, the vast majority of which are expected to die, and which do die off, in a very normal and natural reduction that leads to a stable and healthy population.

Moreover, Indian Point has a Fish Return System in place, which guides anything swimming in that much-less-than-1% of the estuary's water at the intake, along an escape weir that returns fish to the river downstream of IPEC, so that in effect far, far less than 1% of the estuary's swimming inhabitants ever encounter Indian Point's machinery, just the fish weir..

Standing at Indian Point's dock, one can see the ripples in the surface where a great gathering of creatures seek out the warm water flow from IPEC's discharge. Gulls, herons, and other birds hover there, and underwater species such as the blue crab are allowed to live in this part of the Hudson, which otherwise would be too cold for them to survive. (Without IPEC, they would not be found north of the Chesapeake). So IPEC is supporting a flourishing micro-ecosphere at its discharge, one never mentioned by ecological opposers. In fact what has happened is that local predators have abandoned predation in the 50 foot circle surrounding the Indian Point intakes, and because of their personal experience and intelligence, have now moved their predation to the warm IP outfall canal, 1/4 of a mile downstream. Approximately the same amount of natural predation now takes place, simply displaced 1/4 mile south, due to the intelligence of the Hudson's predators, intelligence not taken into account by DEC's J. Jared Snyder, who crafted DEC's essentially fictitious propaganda statement.

Add to this, the recent invasion of the Hudson by non-native species via the great lakes shipping lanes, and it becomes unclear just what ecologists are striving to "protect". Are we to give up our electricity, so that a melange of invasive "bum fish", swamp grass and Russian zebra mussels can be more at home in their newly stolen North American habitat? Are some ecologists simply pandering for grant money? Is their focus unnaturally narrow and negative?

The native Shad and Bass species are stable but inedible, because of mercury and PCB contamination endemic to the Hudson, and having nothing to do with Indian Point. Many of these fish are lineal descendants of the billions of fish hatched at Indian Point's own fish hatchery over 25 years. So does IPEC threaten the Hudson biosphere, as some claim, or has it instead become an integrated, supportive part of the ecological mix now found in the estuary?

Arguments can be made both ways.

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    The Hudson is measured north from Hudson River Mile 0 at the Battery at the southern tip of Manhattan. The George Washington Bridge is at HRM 12, the Tappan Zee 28, Bear Mountain 47, Beacon-Newburgh 62, Mid-Hudson 75, Kingston-Rhinecliff 95, Rip Van Winkle 114, and the Federal Dam at Troy, the head of tidewater, at 153. Entries from points east and west in the watershed reference the corresponding river mile on the mainstem.

Boating On-Hudson