Debate: Should the Indian Nuclear Power Plant be Shut Down?
Environmental Education Fund
The debate was held at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in NY, NY on April 13, 2016 and was planned by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Sustainability Council, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Sustainability and Environmental Justice Program and the Environmental Education Fund (EEF). The debate was introduced by Lindsey Kayman, Joan Hoffman, and Alexander Schlutz (not included in the video).
Summary of the Issue
Thirty-five miles up the Hudson River north of New York City sits the Indian Point Nuclear Power Facility. The two active nuclear reactors were built in the 1970s and currently provide about 13% of the power used in New York City, with the remainder of the 2,000 megawatts generated being used elsewhere.
The state has recently become a hotbed of argument over whether the nuclear reactors â€” set to close in the next few years â€” should be decommissioned, or allowed to continue running. The current owner, Entergy, has applied for 20 year license extensions for each reactor. New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo strongly opposes the plantâ€™s continuing operation, whereas the former Mayor Bloomberg of New York City backs the re-licensing of the plant. There are very strong arguments for both sides, for this is indeed a complex issue.
Michael D. Lemonick is the Opinion Editor at Scientific American. Prior to Scientific American, he spent seven years at the nonprofit science and journalism organization Climate Central. Before that, he was a senior writer at TIME magazine for more than twenty years. He has been writing about science and the environment, including issues of climate and energy, since 1983.
In Favor of Keeping Indian Plant Running
Robert Stone is one of the most highly acclaimed documentary filmmakers working today. His work has earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Feature Documentary, two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Achievement in Non Fiction Filmmaking, and he is the winner of dozens of filmmaking awards worldwide. Four of his films have had their world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, one of which, EARTH DAYS, was selected as Closing Night Film in 2009. Entertainment Weeklyâ€™s Owen Gleiberman has called Stone â€œone of our most important documentary filmmakersâ€ having directed â€œtwo of the most explosively insightful documentaries of the last decade.â€ Stone’s most recent film, PANDORA’S PROMISE is widely hailed as having ignited a debate about the potential for nuclear energy to play a critical in mitigating climate change. The film has been shown widely all over the world and has won numerous environmental awards, including the prestigious Green Award for Best Environmental Documentary at the Sheffield International Film Festival in England.
Against Keeping Indian Point Running
Marilyn Elie is one of the major players working to close Indian Point for the last 17 years. She is co-founder of Westchester Citizens Awareness Network and one of the original members of the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, IPSEC, a coalition of grassroots and environmental organizations in the lower Hudson Valley. Marilyn has learned how to read Nuclear Regulatory Commission reports for what is hidden between the lines and how those reports have randomly and detrimentally changed through the years. She firmly believes that the next year is critical in determining if the reactors at Indian Point will be re licensed to operate for another 20 years or if they will close since the original operating license expired in 2013 and 2015. Marilynâ€™s work to close the plant was featured in the 2015 documentary, INDIAN POINT, by Ivy Meeropol.
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