In this week's Newsletter: Indian Point and the end of the nuclear age, NYS's plan to get to 50% renewables by 2030, gas line inspections are up after the East Village explosion and much more!
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Is Indian Point the Beginning of the End for Nuclear Power?


As anyone who cares about the environment and lives in or near New York City is all too well aware, leaks have been discovered at the Indian Point Energy Center, located just an hour's drive from the city and a stone's throw from the communities of the Hudson Valley. One well was found to be leaking water contaminated with tritium into the groundwater at the plant, and radiation levels were measured at almost 65,000% higher than normal. While Entergy, the company that operates Indian Point, has insisted that the leak is not a danger to surrounding communities, a call to close the plant permanently has been gathering steam.

Up to 75% of US nuclear facilities have a history of leaks and other problems, and Indian Point is no exception. As far back as 2003, then-Governor George Pataki commissioned a report that concluded that the "current radiological response system and capabilities are not adequate to...protect the people from an unacceptable dose of radiation in the event of a release from Indian Point". Entergy has applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for an extension of their license, but the NRC is reviewing the request in light of the recent problems there.

Closing Indian Point would align New York State with a growing number of foreign governments that have decided to completely phase out nuclear power, including Japan, France, Austria, Spain and Germany. Is this a trend that will ultimately mean the end of nuclear power? Time will tell- Indian Point employs 1,000 workers and is responsible for about $5 billion per year in direct and indirect economic activity, so the decision to close the plant will not be an easy one. You can read more about this on the Fortune.com site here.

Renewables in NYC: The Plan to Get to 50 By 30

You may remember that back in December 2015, Governor Cuomo asked for a plan to get New York State to produce 50% of its electricity using renewable sources by 2030. This week, the Department of Public Service released the proposed plan . The “50 by 30” Clean Energy Standard (CES) builds on New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceeding, providing a necessary target and enforcement mechanism to achieve state policy objectives.

With this plan, New York joins Hawai'i, California, Vermont and Oregon at the forefront of the American clean energy revolution. You can read more about the details of the plan on GreenBiz.com here.

Gas Line Inspections Increase in Wake of East Village Explosion

It's been almost a year since an illegal gas line caused an explosion that leveled three East Village buildings, killed two young men and destroyed several businesses. Five of the responsible parties have been indicted, and all of that is good news. But the tragedy has also triggered a city wide sweep to track down and shut off illegal gas taps.

To set up a legal gas line in NYC requires informing Con Ed or National Grid, hiring a licensed master plumber to get the permits from the Department of Buildings and having Con Ed come to inspect the work and certify its safety before reconnecting the gas. Some landlords try to save money by tapping gas from a legal line to send to other units in the building, as was the case on Second Avenue last year. and until the tragedy, the city had a pretty laissez-faire attitude towards inspections.

Now that's all changing: The Buildings Department conducted 343 gas plumbing inspections last year, more than five times the number in 2014. New inspectors have been hired to make sure plumbers have actually done the work they certify. While it's sad that it took such a terrible catastrophe to spur necessary change, it's good to know there are people out there making sure our buildings don't explode. You can read the rest of the story from the New York Times here.
 
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Upcoming Events at Solar 1

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Other Events

3/5
Citizens Committee Neighborhood Leadership Institute: Media Tools
Location TBD, RSVP to Imani with the full name, telephone number and email address of anyone who wishes to attend: ibrown@citizensnyc.org or 212-822-9567, 11am-3pm, free

3/7
NYC Grassroots Alliance Monthly Meeting
New York Society for Ethical Culture (Social Hall), 2 West 64th Street bet Central Park West & Broadway, Manhattan, 7-9pm, free

3/9
Fossil Fuels on Trial
Union Theological Seminary, 3041 Broadway, Room AD-30, bet 121st & 122nd Sts, Manhattan, 4-7pm, free

Healthy Food - A Right for All, Not a Privilege for Some
Seafarers & International House, 123 East 15th Street bet 3rd Ave & Irving Pl, Manhattan, 6:30-8:45pm, free

3/10
Women in Sustainability and Energy: CleanTech Pioneers
Building Energy Exchange, 31 Chambers Street, Suite 609, bet Elk & Centre Sts, 8:30-10am, $15 general admission/$10 partner organizations

Partnerships Academy Workshop Series: How to Start or Join a Community Park Group
Arsenal Gallery, 830 Fifth Avenue bet 64th & 65th Sts, Manhattan, 6:30-8:30pm, free 
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