indian point

Emma Jacobs / WRVO

This story is the second part of a series following New York's power lines to Canada.  You can read the second part here.

Say you're a big state, in need of a lot of electric power. Specifically, you're the fifth largest power consumer in the nation.

And let's also say you have a newfound zeal for shutting down a large nuclear facility, one that's unsettlingly close to a major city (for these purposes we'll call it "Indian Point").

In this scenario, if your northern neighbor swooped in with an offer to provide you with hydroelectric power, produced by massive dams, you'd say yes - right?

New York's political titans are clashing over the future of a controversial nuclear plant north of New York City.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to close the aging Indian Point nuclear plant because of safety concerns. But the plant, which wants to extend its original licenses for another 20 years, has some powerful allies of its own.

Sono Salvo / via Flickr

Last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters that he thinks the power produced by downstate's Indian Point nuclear plant could be replaced, if the plant were to be taken offline.

What Cuomo thinks is important, because he's led the charge to shutter Indian Point, when its reactor licenses expire in 2013 and 2015, for safety reasons.  Six percent of the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of Indian Point - the same evacuation zone threshold that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission recommended for the Fukushima Daiichi plant following the Japanese earthquake earlier this year.

Not surprisingly, momentum to close Indian Point has increased since March.

But the state now has to figure out how to replace it.

Courtesy photo / USGS

We're following up on how the today's 5.9 5.8 (see 3:50 update below) magnitude earthquake might have affected infrastructure and energy operations, but right off the bat, you can breathe a sigh of relief, per the governor's office:

Currently, there have been no reports of damage to buildings, bridges, roads, power grids, the Indian Point nuclear power plant, or other infrastructure.

Indian Point's reactor #3, you may recall, was recently graded to be the most vulnerable domestic reactor in terms of earthquakes, according to Homeland Security Newswire:

The chance of core damage from a quake at Indian Point 3 is estimated at 1 in 10,000 each year. Under NRC guidelines, this rating is very close to requiring “immediate concern regarding adequate protection” of the public. The two reactors at Indian Point generate up to one-third of the electricity for Manhattan. The second reactor, Indian Point 2, does not rate as risky, with an annual chance of 1 in 30,303.