Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Spectra Energy's Algonquin Pipeline Expansion is Just a BAD IDEA

Biblical Disaster Waiting to Happen
What are they thinking?  There are just some ideas  that are just wrong, regardless of how you look at them, and Spectra Energy's expansion of the Algonquin Pipeline which when completed will be less than two hundred feet from the failing Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, buried under the Hudson River is just such a bad idea.   Actually, it is far worse than a bad idea, it is asking for a Double Whammy disaster of Biblical Proportions, that will cost hundreds of thousands, even millions of injured or dead people, and create damages running into the hundreds of Billions of dollars...even scarier, because Federal Law exempts Nuclear Power Plants from carrying adequate accident insurance, while at the same time denying citizens having nuclear accident insurance which would mean hundreds of thousands of people could lose their most valuable asset, their homes with no legal recourse.
The Price-Anderson Act became law on September 2, 1957, to cover liability claims of members of the public for personal injury and property damage caused by a nuclear accident involving a commercial nuclear power plant. The legislation helped encourage private investment in commercial nuclear power by placing a cap, or ceiling, on the total amount of liability each nuclear power plant licensee faced in the event of an accident. Over time, the “limit of liability” for a nuclear accident has increased the insurance pool to more than $12 billion.  NOTE-The estimated cost of cleaning up Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant has doubled to nearly 22 trillion yen ($190 billion).
What was FERC thinking when they approved the ill-conceived routing for this pipeline extension and why are they allowing the project to go forward after the company's dismal failure in trying to install one of the key sections of pipeline that is less than a football field away from Indian Point ?Why hasn't both the NRC and FERC called for a halt to construction while a new EIS/Impact Study is done...their attempts to bury the pipeline under the river, laid upon the rivers bottom failed, the pipe sinking, Spectra has now decided they want to do a patch, tying a new high pressure line into an old low pressure line as a fix, falsely telling the community this is a perfect solution which presents no additional danger to the community and its citizens.  We all know that is a lie.

This same message has been used in the Dakota's for another ill conceived high pressure pipeline known as DAPL.  Let's examine a few things.

1.   FERC, the Army Corp of Engineers and the US EPA rerouted the DAPL route when it was decided that the pipeline would/could present a significant risk to the potable drinking water supplies of the community close to the state capital (predominately white).  The new route proposed and accepted saw the new route running through a similarly situated area inhabited by poor people and Indians...if the project presents a risk to one community's drinking water, how can it not present a risk to another community's drinking water and why is it ok to make one community live with a risk that was deemed to significant for another. (Environmental Racism rears its ugly head.)

2.   Citizens being asked to play host to the DAPL project, much like the citizens here in my community have been told the project is safe, that the pipeline will not leak, and if it does leak, the safety equipment and sensors would keep a leak to a minimum.   Despite these assurances, this month saw a 176,000 gallon leak sprung up on the DAPL...even more disturbing, the company's sensor that was supposed to notify them of a problem or leak failed.   If it were not for a property owner who was out for a walk noticing the leak, the situation would have been far worse.  Meanwhile, the clean up of the now polluted stream has begun.

In February of 2016 Indian Point had a serious leak of radioactive water into the Hudson River, just one example of the problems with this dilapidated aged reactor long past its safe operational lifetime, an it is now not a question of if, but when the reactors suffer a cataclysmic accident that will threaten millions of people downwind of the reactors.  Placing Spectra Energy's high pressure toxic fracked gas pipeline within 200 feet of reactors greatly increases the risk of a significant accident at the site which is why the Spectra project must be stopped.
First, having a high pressure pipeline so close to the failing Indian Point Reactor owned by Entergy presents a very attractive target for terrorists...two significant energy projects 24 miles from Manhattan is a target that those bent on intent of attacking America and our infrastructure are more than likely going to go after.  Yet, these terrorist/malcontent threats have not been evaluated by FERC or the NRC. 
Secondly, what would the effects be if through attack, or pipeline failure there was an explosion in the pipeline similar to the one that occurred in Helena Alabama in November of 2016?  The Hudson River burning, hundreds of thousands if not millions of gallons of fracked gas rushing downstream, polluting the river, and killing wildlife along the way.   
Further, would the debris from such an explosion create serious issues involving Indian Point's water intake system, and if so, how does Entergy plan to cool the reactors if they have to shut down their access to the Billions of Gallons of water they need each day to keep the reactors from melting down? 
NOTE-2.5 billion gallons/day -- twice NYC’s total daily consumption.  

Lastly, what effect on the interior of the reactors would occur if debris from the pipeline, fracked gas from the pipeline were being sucked in from the water intake? Would the reactors be damaged, could these pollutants and debris change the interior atmosphere of the reactors enough to cause an explosion of the reactors, creating and instantaneous Fukishima on the Hudson which would then put over 25 percent of America's population in harms way?

Alarmist?  Before you make that accusation, let's look at what a 20 inch high pressure gas line explosion looks like.  Keep in mind, the Spectra Algonquin Pipeline is TWICE this size in diameter.

Ask the NRC if our Emergency Responders are prepared to handle and explosion of this magnitude with the flames melting the steel roofs of Indian Point's non-hardened spent fuel pools.   If those roofs collapse into pools, causing the spent fuel rods to become unstable, what kind of a nuclear chain reaction would occur?  Further,  new pipelines are actually FAILING at a rate three times greater than their older predecessors installed in the 1950's.  Much like Indian Point, it is not a question of if, but when this Pipeline has a significant life threatening accident.   If that accident occurs in close proximity to Indian Point the probability of a Fukushima-on-the-Hudson that would make NY City uninhabitable millennia is almost a certainty.  

Spectra's Safety record at best is checkered, and they are not immune to explosions in the 22,000 miles of pipeline they operate across America and Canada.

A DRAMATIC RUPTURESpectra’s most recent pipeline accident was the dramatic rupture of an auxiliary pipe along its Texas Eastern Pipeline in Little Rock, Ark. on May 31. The buried line, which crossed the Arkansas River near the Clinton Presidential Center, was not in use at the time, but contained four million cubic feet of natural gas that exploded with such force that churning water boiled up high into the air across the span of the river. Eyewitness Tony Cassady, who lives nearby, said the gushing waters had settled back somewhat by the time he managed to snap the photo above.
It is time to just say no, and put and end to this doomed to disaster project...if Spectra Energy wants to petition FERC for a new alternative route, let Spectra do so, but allowing the Spectra project to continue on its current route that brings it within 200 feet of Indian Point must be stopped.

A closing question...if FERC feels it imperative for pipelines to be at least 500 feet from homes, why is it OK to have such a dangerous project less than 200 feet from a Nuclear Reactor?