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Indian Point Key to Economy, Analyst Says

Lower Hudson Valley leaders discuss the consequences of closing the nuclear plant

Aside from transforming the way the Lower Hudson Valley harnesses energy, how would shuttering in Buchanan affect the region?

The query was center-stage at a forum at the Rye Brook Hilton Friday morning, where Westchester business leaders and energy and environmental professionals gathered to discuss the looming chance of closing down the nuclear center. Two of the reactors' licenses expire in 2014 and 2016, respectively, after 40 years.

And though much of the discussion was subjective, there was one cardinal take-away—closing the plant would inexorably impact the economy on several levels.

The event featured a panel of speakers from various sectors, and a capstone talk by Dr. Howard Axelrod, a utility planner and economist with experience in designing power plants.

"There's one certainty—if the plant closes, there will be immediate impact of about 1,400 jobs lost, mostly in Westchester," Axelrod said.

The power plant provides millions of dollars in wages annually to its workers, many of them local, Axelrod noted. The plant also pays about $75 million in taxes yearly, and donates approximately $2 million dollars to charity.

Further, the residual consequences out those jobs drying up would likely eliminate another 1,200 local positions, Axelrod added. "When that plant closes, those jobs will be gone," he added, likening it to the closure of an automobile factory.

Closing the nuclear power plant would also spike local electricity prices, according to Axlerod—and with people spending more money on utility bills and less on local businesses, the economy would slow, he said.

Axelrod's assessment clashes with the findings of state officials, who in February said .

Axelrod also discussed hypothetical alternatives, noting some 9,000 windmills would be needed to match Indian Point's energy output.

"We're talking realism versus conceptualism," he said.

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For more of Patch's coverage of Indian Point, click here.

John D. September 08, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Closing the plant is the right move for the area. It never should have been located here in the first place. While losing 1400 jobs is not a great thing, especially for those workers, having the plant in this area has significant adverse effects on a lot more than 1400 people. A meaningful number of people are hesitant to locate their homes or businesses near a nuclear power plant. This has to hurt local property values and the local economy. Closing the plant would eliminate that significant drag on the local economy. Most importantly, though, closing Indian Point would eliminate the risk of a catastrophic contamination of the Hudson River and the Hudson River Valley that would impact hundreds of miles (possibly for hundreds of years). Such an accident would make the loss of 1400 local power plant jobs seem pretty insignificant by comparison.
Cadeyrn September 08, 2012 at 03:26 PM
If the greenies have their way we'll be attending stick rubbing classes ... and learning how to walk in the woods properly. Zealots.
Arthur September 10, 2012 at 08:40 PM
John D, maybe they should get rid of your job. The French derive more than 80 percent of their energy needs via nuclear and their in no rush to close their facilities. Its guys like you kill this country. Maybe we should not have gone westward 200 years ago because of the hostile Indians. Life is a risk!
Arthur September 10, 2012 at 08:53 PM
John D, maybe they should get rid of your job. The French derive more than 80 percent of their energy needs via nuclear and their in no rush to close their facilities. Its guys like you kill this country. Maybe we should not have gone westward 200 years ago because of the hostile Indians.
John D. September 11, 2012 at 02:28 PM
People who question whether it makes sense to put a facility that is one mistake, natural disaster or terrorist attack away from making one of the most important economic centers in the country uninhabitable for decades or even centuries are killing this country?? The plant has benefits (it provides jobs for 1400 people, generates local tax revenue, and lowers energy costs for many). It also imposes real social costs on many people (lower property values in the surrounding area and the risk of an accident or attack that would impose catastrophic human and economic costs - just ask the Japanese, they have a very different view than the French). Those social costs are likely higher with a plant at this particular location than they would be elsewhere and they should be weighed against the benefits provided by the plant in deciding whether to close it or keep it. The people who went west 200 or so years ago took the risks (and any resulting benefits) themselves. They didn't impose those risks on those who stayed behind. Indian Point imposes real risks and costs on everyone in the area. Neither the article nor your comment mentioned those costs at all.

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