Is it Really a Good Idea to put one Gas Pipeline near an Old Nuclear Power Plant and another Next to a Major Art Museum?

Friday, April 17, 2015
Indian Point Nuclear Plant (photo: Wikipedia)

Two New York pipelines, one near a nuclear plant, the other terminating in the basement of a museum, have caused concern about the possibility of an accident.


Thirty miles north of Manhattan, a proposed gas pipeline would run near the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC), a nuclear power plant in operation since 1973. If that line were to leak and subsequently explode, the blast could trigger a nuclear catastrophe.


The new pipeline would be part of the existing 1,129-mile Algonquin Pipeline that runs from Texas to Beverly, Massachusetts. The owner, Spectra Energy, wants to build a new section, called “The Algonquin Incremental Market Project,” to handle more gas.


One engineer with years of experience in nuclear safety is concerned about the pipeline’s placement. “I’ve had over 45 years of nuclear experience and [experience in] safety issues,” Paul Blanch told Truthout. “I have never seen [a situation] that essentially puts 20 million residents at risk, plus the entire economics of the United States by making a large area surrounding Indian Point uninhabitable for generations. I’m not an alarmist and haven’t been known as an alarmist, but the possibility of a gas line interacting with a plant could easily cause a Fukushima type of release.”


Spectra is mired in a similar controversy in the middle of New York City, where the Whitney Museum of American Art will open soon. The new museum, located in the meatpacking district, is adjacent to a natural gas pipeline owned by Spectra that began operating two years ago. The pipeline that stretches from New Jersey, under the Hudson River and across the West Side Highway, according to The New York Times. It connects with the city’s gas grid in a vault under the Whitney.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Doing the Unthinkable: Giant Gas Pipeline to Flank a New York Nuclear Power Plant (by Ellen Cantarow, Truthout)

Before Its Opening, the Whitney Museum Faces a Protest (by Melena Ryzik, New York Times)

Court Orders Nuclear Regulatory Commission to Explain Why it Exempted Indian Point Reactor from Fire Safety Regulations (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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