New York Indian Point Nuclear Plant Shuts Down, Ending an Era

But renewable energy “is not going to happen with a magic wand.”

Seth Wenig/AP

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

America’s energy past and future was on display on Friday at Indian Point, a nuclear plant 25 miles north of New York City that has been producing electricity since 1962.

At 11 am, the last of the aging plant’s reactor turbines shut down, ending a long political standoff. At the same time, wind and sun over the Hudson River alongside the plant pointed to the state’s energy future.

Environmentalists and politicians have described the plant as a threat to millions. Many welcomed the closure. “There are 20 million people living within 50 miles of Indian Point and there is no way to evacuate them in case of a radiological release,” Paul Gallay, president of the environmental group Riverkeeper, told the Associated Press.

In part, the plant was doomed by the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001—the pilots of the hijacked planes used the river for navigation, alerting politicians to the vulnerability of the reactors on the banks of the Hudson. “The plant was built to withstand an airplane crash in the 70s,” New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, said recently. “Who knows what would happen now with Indian Point?”

Furthermore, nuclear power has lost favor as the cost of clean-energy renewables declines. In 2019, Indian Point provided 13 percent of New York state power. According to operator Entergy, for New York City and the lower Hudson Valley that figure was about 25 percent. Under a 2017 agreement between Cuomo, Riverkeeper and Entergy, another reactor was shut down a year ago.

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $170,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign that ends Saturday. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $170,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign that ends Saturday. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate