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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Natural gas claims another power plant...


Date: 01/09/17 06:28
Natural gas claims another power plant...
Author: Lackawanna484

But not what you expect.  Entergy announced it has reached agreement to close its Indian Point nuclear power plant on the Hudson River, about 30 miles north of New York City. The MetroNorth Hudson line passes the side of the plant. At the end of 2016, natural gas produced about 35% of US electricity, and rising. Coal produced about 30%, and dropping. Nukes about 20% and flat. Hydro about 7%, wind, about 6%, solar, about 1%.

The Wall Street Journal notes that the convergence of cheap natural gas and political anxiety about the plant's proximity to New York City has made the plant expendable. It joins several nuclear plants with remaining time on their tickets which will close ahead of schedule.  The same dynamics which threaten coal plants are also besieging nuclear plants. Cheap gas and political anxiety.

Unlike coal plants, some environmentalists see a place for nuclear in the power mix. Although the waste has some issues, the plants produce emission free electricity. Much less than natural gas and a tiny % of coal's pollution.  NY state governor Andrew Cuomo recently OK'd a deal to keep three upstate nuclear plants in business. It was widely expected a provision of that deal would close Indian Point. In addition to its proximity to huge population centers, it is also located on an earthquake fault line, and a few miles from Cuomo's country estate.

Falling victim to economic pressure

 



Date: 01/09/17 10:08
Re: Natural gas claims another power plant...
Author: 3rdboxcar

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Unlike coal plants, some environmentalists see a
> place for nuclear in the power mix. Although the
> waste has some issues, the plants produce emission
> free electricity. Much less than natural gas and a
> tiny % of coal's pollution. 

Only as long there is not another Chernobyl,  then coal will be a tiny % of nuclear's pollution!



Date: 01/09/17 11:18
Re: Natural gas claims another power plant...
Author: pal77

This plant has been in the cross hairs for as long as I can remember.  In the 80's not long after TMI we were isssued radiation pills here in northern NJ because the toxic cloud that Indian Point will spill and would come our way with prevailing winds.  Guess they finally got their way.  Natural gas in NYS is funny with the political enviorment of preventing fracking so its cheap but could be cheaper.  If NG wasn't so cheap and the economy so weak in a measure of workforce participation, there is no way they (power Co's & Polititians) would be able to shutter plants like these and the the many coal fired plants they have.  Should we start to add jobs and stress the grid like it was in '04-05 timeframe it will be interesting how the power co's will handle with the diminished infrastructure. 



Date: 01/09/17 11:20
Re: Natural gas claims another power plant...
Author: nsrlink

The issue many are scared of at Indian River isn't the plant itself, it's that they store their spent nuclear fuel on site.  The concern is some terrorist penetrating the security to obtain spent fuel to make a dirty bomb or cause the water level of the holding pools to decrease such that there is a threat to NYC in close proximity.  Shutting down the plant is one thing, but there is still all the spent fuel to remove, whether the plant remains in operation or not.  Since there is no national repository for spent nuclear fuel, other plants have a similar situation as Indian River.  They've been worried about the spent fuel for decades, but I guess this makes for some good headlines.



Date: 01/09/17 11:27
Re: Natural gas claims another power plant...
Author: Lackawanna484

There was some discussion about converting the Indian Point to gas, but that didn't get very far. 

The Lovett plant, across the river, burned coal for decades. Depending on which mines had the contract, Lovett could get coal from the south, via Nyack, or from the north, via Selkirk.



Date: 01/09/17 16:26
Re: Natural gas claims another power plant...
Author: Northeaster

While it was noted that Indian Point is on an earthquake fault, that was not known when the plant was designed and approved. The fault was discovered only after it was up and running. The storm Sandy also raised some serious questions about the plant's vulnerability to storm surge events which could overwhelm the plant and cause very nasty problems for the many millions of persons living downwind and downstream from the plant in NYC area. Here in Ithaca, NY, Cornell University central heat/cooling plant at one time burned coal, even the rail line is now gone, then it burned oil, and now its two boilers and two co generation plants burn NG via a new line connecting to a major gas transmission line which runs nearby. Change is always going to happen.



Date: 01/09/17 17:27
Re: Natural gas claims another power plant...
Author: leonz

Northeaster Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> While it was noted that Indian Point is on an
> earthquake fault, that was not known when the
> plant was designed and approved. The fault was
> discovered only after it was up and running. The
> storm Sandy also raised some serious questions
> about the plant's vulnerability to storm surge
> events which could overwhelm the plant and cause
> very nasty problems for the many millions of
> persons living downwind and downstream from the
> plant in NYC area. Here in Ithaca, NY, Cornell
> University central heat/cooling plant at one time
> burned coal, even the rail line is now gone, then
> it burned oil, and now its two boilers and two co
> generation plants burn NG via a new line
> connecting to a major gas transmission line which
> runs nearby. Change is always going to happen.



A couple of things here:

The rail line is gone because CONRAIL did not maintain it even though it reached to the east to Dryden, moravia, Cortland and eventually to Syracuse and the 86,000 tons of coal that was moved on it annually was not enough for them to invest in maintaining the roadbed and track as the last derailment that killed the line was when the coal drag broke rail as it crossed the single track bridge overpass in 1975. The line that crossed the Elmira Road went past the park and the old gravel pit and went upgrade to south hill passing morse chain then across to east hill across the gorge to the steam plant.

The steam plant in the Humpries Service building at Cornell University was built in 1929 and always had oil and natural gas later as a back up fuel supply for the two walking grate stokers-one of which is a Riley Stoker.

The University did not want to upgrade the steam plant by installing 2 sets of pollution controls for both coal stoker including electrostatic precipitators and bag houses to clean the flue gasses.

They had been buying pollution credits for years while Mix Brothers trucking was made rich hauling the 86,000 tons of metallurgical grade bituminous coal the steam plant annually by tractor trailer from the old siding from 1975 to 2008-9. Mix Brothers used an electric powered CARHOE provided by CONRAIL along with an air compressor to release the air brakes on the 70 ton 2 bay ERIE coal car strings using a back hoe to move the cars as the cars were brought in to the two sidings and had to be moved to empty them with the back hoe as a power unit to move a few cars at a time. The Car Hoe is still there on the inner siding closest to the trailer park as is the 480 volt power box that is used to power it.

The coal mess is still there and it was simply pushed into the ground witht he tractor trailers for almost 30 years.

The university and its legal department were just banking for time to install the twin steam turbines and tap into the 42 inch natural gas line that Dominion operates installing a new pipeline to intersect it in Varna, New York to buy transportation gas on the open market.

They were not interested in burning Wyoming Coal either with the two coal stokers they have because they would still be in violation of the heavy metals discharge rates in the stack flue gasses that had to be corrected
and the conversion to natural gas saved them money even though the natural gas pollutes the air at a lesser rate with its flue gas precipitants that does not require them to do major repairs like bag houses and precipitators.

The two local evaporated salt plants in Watkins Glen also dodged a bullet as one now uses transportation gas and the other burns wood chips to make evaporated salt products.


NOW they want to drill a geothermal well to 6K+ feet below the UTICA SHALE play and tap into that heat. They will be unpleasantly surprised to find that the piping wont last at that depth to make steam if they don't hit gas first but that is why they are going to be drilling on university property anyway, WINK, WINK.



Date: 01/09/17 19:32
Re: Natural gas claims another power plant...
Author: jfrank39

All this is fine as long as the natural gas hold out. It's all shipped up there by pipeline. But when it starts to run low they can all freeze in the dark.



Date: 01/10/17 05:45
Re: Natural gas claims another power plant...
Author: Lackawanna484

A lot of the upstate natural gas comes from the Pennsylvania side of the Marcellus. The rest comes from Canada, Oklahoma, etc

Posted from Android



Date: 01/10/17 06:51
Re: Natural gas claims another power plant...
Author: RichM

Since this thread is already digressing, I wonder if there's sufficient capacity on the existing transmission network to add a power plant this size, or should we anticipate an environmental impact dispute over additional demand and the resulting construction?



Date: 01/10/17 07:16
Re: Natural gas claims another power plant...
Author: Lackawanna484

RichM Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Since this thread is already digressing, I wonder
> if there's sufficient capacity on the existing
> transmission network to add a power plant this
> size, or should we anticipate an environmental
> impact dispute over additional demand and the
> resulting construction?

NY has been fighting over natural gas pipelines for years.  There's one proposed for parts of the former New York Central upper Harlem line. That one comes from Canada, and would pass by a country home of an incoming President and near the home of a former President and an almost President.  There's a lot of question whether it is needed

The Marcellus is also spinning off two pipelines which would reach New England. Lots of fighting about them, too.  Parts of one pipeline have been reversed, sending natural gas south instead of bringing it north.



Date: 01/11/17 18:42
Re: Natural gas claims another power plant...
Author: march_hare

Northeaster Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> While it was noted that Indian Point is on an
> earthquake fault, that was not known when the
> plant was designed and approved. The fault was
> discovered only after it was up and running. The
> storm Sandy also raised some serious questions
> about the plant's vulnerability to storm surge
> events which could overwhelm the plant and cause
> very nasty problems for the many millions of
> persons living downwind and downstream from the
> plant in NYC area. Here in Ithaca, NY, Cornell
> University central heat/cooling plant at one time
> burned coal, even the rail line is now gone, then
> it burned oil, and now its two boilers and two co
> generation plants burn NG via a new line
> connecting to a major gas transmission line which
> runs nearby. Change is always going to happen.


Well,  not quite so fast. 

The fault was discovered and mapped while the second unit was being licensed. So yeah, the first one gets a bye. As for the second,  utility poopoohed the significance of the fault, claiming that it hadn't moved in millions of years. That's a plausible argument, since the world is chock full of faults from long ago that don't do squat nowadays. Then people who weren't actively working for the utility showed that the fault offset geologic features that were only a few thousand years old. ( that's a big deal in geology, basically telling you that the fault is still capable of movement today).  A couple years later, some more convincing evidence arrived when the very same fault produced a minor earthquake in Warwick, a couple dozen miles away. Not a biggie, a few toppled brick chimneys, but pretty amusing for rock heads that follow stuff like this. 

 



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