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Fish, Fish Eggs Holocaust

Posted by feww on December 29, 2008

In view of public interest in the environmental impact and safety of power plants the following AP article first published in October is reprinted in full.

Billions of Fish, Fish Eggs Die in Power Plants

By Jim Fitzgerald, Associated Press – First Published 19 October 2008

BUCHANAN, N.Y. (AP) — For a newly hatched striped bass in the Hudson River, a clutch of trout eggs in Lake Michigan or a baby salmon in San Francisco Bay, drifting a little too close to a power plant can mean a quick and turbulent death.

Sucked in with enormous volumes of water, battered against the sides of pipes and heated by steam, the small fry of the aquatic world are being sacrificed in large numbers each year to the cooling systems of power plants around the country.


NIPSCO Coal Power Plant Cooling Tower. Michigan City. Indiana. Publisher: National Biological Information Infrastructure (Nov 2002). Credit: John J. Mosesso,

Environmentalists say the nation’s power plants are needlessly killing fish and fish eggs with their cooling systems, but energy-industry officials say opponents of nuclear power are exaggerating the losses.

The issue is affecting the debate over the future of a nuclear plant in the suburbs north of New York City, and the facilities and environmentalists are closely watching the outcome here to see how to proceed in other cities around the country. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule this term in a lawsuit related to the matter.

The issue’s scope is tremendous. More than 1,000 power plants and factories around the country use water from rivers, lakes, oceans and creeks as a coolant. At Indian Point plant in New York, the two reactors can pull in 1.7 million gallons of water per minute. Nineteen plants on or near the California coast use 16.3 billion gallons of sea water every day.


Part of the Shearon Harris nuclear power plant, the site chosen for a proposed new nuclear power reactor, is seen here. The water cooling tower is emitting steam from hot water. The plant is near Raleigh, N.C. Image: Progress Energy, Murray & Associates. Image may be subject to copyright.

Most of the casualties are just fish eggs, and for many species, it takes thousands of eggs to result in one adult fish. The U.S. Environmental Protection Administration, which counts only species that are valuable for commerce or recreation, uses various formulas and says the number of eggs and larvae killed each year at the nation’s large power plants would have grown into 1.5 billion year-old fish.

Environmentalists note that even fish that die before maturity contribute to the ecosystem as food for larger fish and birds, and as predators themselves on smaller organisms. But once they’ve gone through the power plant, they become decomposing detritus on the river bottom and have moved from the top to the bottom of the food chain, said Reed Super, an environmental lawyer specializing in the federal Clean Water Act.

“This is a really significant ongoing harm to our marine ecosystem,” says Angela Haren, program director for the California Coastkeeper Alliance in San Francisco.

Technology has long existed that might reduce the fish kill by 90 percent or more. Cooling towers allow a power plant to recycle the water rather than continuously pump it in. New power plants are required to use cooling towers, but most existing plants resist any push to convert, citing the huge cost and claiming that most fish eggs and larvae are doomed anyway.

“We’re not killing grown fish,” says Jerry Nappi, spokesman for Entergy Nuclear Northeast, owner of Indian Point. “If we were killing billions of grown fish you’d be able to walk across the Hudson on their backs.”

And Nappi says the fish population in the Hudson is stable, despite a recent study commissioned by Indian Point opponents that said 10 of 13 species were declining.

He also says an insistence on cooling towers could lead to Indian Point’s closing and a sudden power deficit in the New York metropolitan area.

“What you’re really talking about is a $1.5 billion hit on the company, and then it becomes an economic decision whether they want to stay here,” he says. He believes talk of cooling towers is “a backdoor attempt by some to shut down Indian Point.”

A recent ruling dealt at least a small blow to Entergy’s efforts. The state Department of Environmental Protection, which is pushing for cooling towers, said the simple fact that so many fish eggs are destroyed each year at Indian Point is proof of an environmental impact, and Entergy can no longer maintain that it’s not adversely affecting the river.


Natural Draft Cooling Tower. Image Source:
Cooling Towers. Image may be subject to copyright.

There’s still months of argument ahead, but the ruling could be influential.

“We’ll be very interested to see how that comes out,” says Katie Nekola, an attorney for Clean Wisconsin, which failed to force cooling towers at the Oak Creek plant on Lake Michigan but won a $105 million settlement.

State agencies in California also are working on new regulations that should limit the numbers of fish killed, in the Pacific Ocean and other bodies of water.

According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, nuclear plants drink from other familiar bodies of water as the Mississippi River, Chesapeake Bay, Lake Michigan, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Oceans. Water used for cooling does not become radioactive.

Most plants without cooling towers use a system in which water is continuously pumped in, used for cooling, and returned.

Various types of barriers are used to keep adult fish out of the system; Indian Point uses screens with holes measuring a quarter-inch by a half-inch.

However, fish that are blocked by the screen can become caught on the screen by the force of the water intake. To rescue them, the screens rotate, and as they come out of the water a spray of water knocks the impinged fish into a trough, which is directed back to the river.

A California state report says 9 million fish are caught on nets there every year. Even turtles, seals and sea lions are occasionally caught. Environmentalists believe many fish and other creatures are killed in this process, or are injured and die later.

“When you hit a deer in your car, just because it gets up and runs away doesn’t mean it’s not going to die,” Haren said.

But Ed Keating, environmental manager at the nuclear subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Inc., said that probably only 1 percent of the fish caught get killed on the screens. Dara Gray, environmental supervisor at Indian Point, says there’s no reason to believe that any fish are injured or killed by being caught on the screen.

In the process known as closed-cycle cooling, used mostly in newer plants, the number of fish and eggs sucked in or impinged is sharply reduced because cooling towers use so much less water. Even if a power plant draws its cooling water from a river, it uses that water over and over again and rarely needs to replenish.

Some plants with cooling towers don’t have to worry about fish at all. PSEG Fossil has plants in New Jersey that now take treated wastewater from sewage plants.

Related Links:

15 Responses to “Fish, Fish Eggs Holocaust”

  1. tripp said

    [Thanks! Moderator]

  2. […] An endangered species, the shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) is a small North American sturgeon which live  in about a dozen or so large river and estuary systems along the North American Atlantic seaboard. They spawn in fresh water, making Hudson River an ideal habitat, where the largest adult population of about 30 – 40,000 are found.  “Sucked in with enormous volumes of water, battered against the sides of pipes and heated by steam, the small fry of the aquatic world are being sacrificed in large numbers each year to the cooling systems of power plants around the country.” […]

  3. teenoie said

    [Disallowed. See Editorial Policy concerning commercial advertising: Moderator.]

  4. H Springer said

    Thank you for pointing out my failure to include detailed catastrophy facts. I assume that those of us dedicated to mining such facts are on the job, and in mutual communication. I understand your role on this website to be a last-ditch promulgation of such facts , to gain traction in the populace at large, for those saving measures your community deems essential. I applaud your mission. Please don’t misunderstand my effort. My contribution, if it is to be anything, is philosophical.

    Faced with carefully-calculated tipping points, and end-of-life scenarios…. what if the public at large ( and thus the political elites elected by them) prefer a less troubling outlook, seeking lotto games, sports, pursuit of money, vapid entertainment, religious delusion, ethnic war, or other self-blinding stopgaps, thus in a way, deserving their coming annihilation?

    Can “Planetary Doom” , as a brand, truly marshal the response your community is seeking? What if a quorum for action cannot be found? If we act inclusively, admitting to our counsels those in the third world whose quest is to replicate Euro/American consumption patterns in a global setting, the case for action becomes diluted by the unrealized hopes of four billion human lives lived in plain sight of the rewards they crave, but forever blocked from attaining them. In other words, most of the human race avidly nurtures an agenda different from yours/(ours), and there is my point.

    If a tipping point approaches, and if we are powerless politically to affect ( slow down or stop) its approach, perhaps our philosophical attitude towards the emerging body of fact is in need of tuning. After all, shooting people on the deck of the Titanic to enforce the doomed social protocols of a system about to sink beneath the waves seems not only unproductive, but criminal, reactionary, and anti-human.

    [Unrelated sections edited: FEWW]

  5. H. Springer said

    I think the Neanderthals have a lesson for all the discouraged doomists. The collapse of the pre-ice age ecology simply resulted in a human adaptation, centered on cave dwelling, fire, a spear/atlatl/bow/flint toolkit, and intense training/indoctrination into successful hunt methods. This paradigm differed radically from the previous herd-following tactic, and the pro-active stalking of game, (a new concept at the time) allowed human survival on the ice. The change from the previous method was radical, and was enabled only because of the superior mental/cultural endowment of the Neanderthaler hominids.

    Modern man is no less adaptable. Modern man’s mental endowment may be on a par with the Neanderthals’ , but modern culture contains vast stores of technique unavailable to the ancients. What does this mean? It means as global warming raises sea levels and average temperatures, technologically-mediated moves into previously uninhabitable high ground and subarctic regions will tide mankind over the change. Mankind certainly possesses a foot-by-foot roadmap of the entire planet surface on GPS , technology enough to set up eternal (breeder) reactor systems , and proactive stalking/culling of food resources on a scale unknown until needed.

    As prior-age fishing fleets are abandoned, a great rebound in sea life will occur. As temperatures rise, the huge band of subarctic taiga forest ( larger by some ten times than all rainforests combined) will become usable to grow more temperate food varieties. Vast reaches of Canada, Siberia, and Antarctica will become newly hospitable to life, while vast untapped reserves of water will be released to man’s use, from the melting of the Greenland & Antarctic ice sheets.

    With fossil fuels almost entirely depleted, a new mix of solar, wind, geothermal, and nuclear will become the mainstay, and main creative project of the human survivors. Equatorial areas will become cleansed of the life they once harbored, and will thus be opened up to recolonization from the new polar civilizations. It will be an exciting time in which to live.

    • feww said

      H. Springer
      Your comment is void of any understanding, appreciation or knowledge of ecosystems [life-support systems,] deadly hazards of climate change, runaway climate change, ‘tipping point,’ [basics of] agriculture, agroforestry, food production, role of forests in climatology, hydrologic cycle, water pollution, topsoil, marine systems, ocean warming, ocean acidification… population mechanics, human aggregation and migration… human health and hygiene, disease pandemics…

      Ordinarily, your comment would have been disallowed. How ever, I’ll allow it this time to avoid any misunderstanding concerning future comments that would be rejected should they be equally immune to ‘basic’ knowledge and scientific facts. Please refer to the contents of this site, and search other public information sources for reading materials on the vital topics that I have listed above.

  6. edro said

    From the human point of view, humanity has failed! The Sixth Great Extinction will see to it that there would be no “neo-dinosaurs” left behind.

    To 99.9999 percent of humans other forces that might be in interplay don’t mean anything.

  7. H. Springer said

    You are right.

    We have very different views.

    I feel that coming events are not catastrophic, not to be feared. My long survey taken over many decades of study, leads me to think we are caught up in processes beyond our ability to control, but… because we belong to these processes, and them to us…..they are not to be shunned.

    Environmental heresy?

    Or simply the next chapter?

    I applaud your humanistic instincts, and I sympathize with your state of alarm.

    It seems that the altruistic evasion of nature’s usual preventive scourges by way of the West’s provision of technology, medicine, hope, and a destination to billions of third world people has, in a sense, backfired, as a Malthusian population explosion gains momentum, and the massive monoculture of fossil fuel, chemically-aided farming, and cheap travel despoils the planet with human detritus, and the desire for city life.

    Once, when moving into a New York City apartment, I had trapped about 100 cockroaches in a jar, meaning to dispose of them later. Two months later, my partner found the jar sitting in the summer heat on the fire escape. Were they dead? Au contraire, a new generation had hatched… all inside the sealed jar…. the smaller roaches swarmed the larger roaches, and fed on their carcasses. By summer’s end, the new generation had spawned their own replacements, and the layers of dead roach carcass remains became similar to an architectural floor in the jar, upon which the newbies lived entire lives. In November, the jar finally froze in an early frost, and I tossed it in the trash. But it had taught me something.

    Have you ever wondered about the genesis of pygmy races? In Africa, and in the Indian Ocean, older strains of humanity, forced out of ancient homelands by outsider migrations, have physically adapted (in a Lamarckian way) to reduced circumstances and have grown smaller, reducing their biological budgets to the point where tribes, or groups of tribes, are enabled to survive on resources that would have been inadequate for a full-stature genetic group to subsist upon.

    Recent polls done across third world areas reveal what low-budget peoples spend their money on, when a little bit of discretionary cash is made available to them. Food? No. Housing? No. Clothing? No. Education? Most certainly No. When cash is made available to modern day “primitives”, they seek out electronic communications devices and motorbikes. Cell phones, and TV sets. (and to and extent…radios). So the cat is out of the bag. Everyone below the Euro/American standard of living wants cell phones, to find out how to travel to Euro/America, and get the rest of the pie.

    In the pre-Cambrian era, a vast creative explosion of anaerobic life forms glutted the planet, and eventually poisoned its atmosphere with their exhaled excretions, to the point where a great die-off occurred. A great chemical change overtook the planet at that point, as some mutant survivors learned via Darwinian (or Lamackian) adaptation, just how to survive on the poison. That poison, Oxygen, now had to be viewed in a totally new light, because of the clever adaptive resourcefulness of those few mutant strains. Because the poison had not entirely sterilized the earth, but had merely set a difficult choke point for the vast majority, after the die-off, that poison was transmogrified into the very essence of life itself, a role that it plays to this day (except for certain anaerobic microbes).

    What has this in common with the cockroach jar, or the pygmy strains?

    If you view life as accidental, then you will view a catastrophic challenge as likely to completely end such an unlikely phenomenon.

    If you view life as an inevitable thermodynamic outgrowth of planetary evolution, then you will reduce your estimation of the importance of catastrophic choke points, viewing them as mere “steering events” in the natural course of Darwinian punctuated stability. Steering events will change the groundrules, and allow passage only for those who can adapt Lamarckian-wise, and become pygmy, or learn to be aerobic. But such Darwinian steering events WILL NOT STERILIZE THE PLANET.

    Now a question on values:

    Would it have been better for the Cambrian chokepoint to have never happened, and methane-breathing 13-legged lifeforms to have been perpetuated forward thru the millennia to the present day? Or is it (in retrospect) a fortunate thing that the 13-leggers passed out of ken, allowing symmetrical Oxygen-dependant 4-limbed creatures such as Ghandi, Einstein, Alexander the Great, Khufu, Buddha, Beethoven, and the sabre-toothed tiger, to have a turn on the stage?

    From a planetary perspective, it is not creatures who rule, it is the planet-life, whether envisioned as Kali, or Gaia, or Thermodynamic necessity. From the Kali perspective, from the Gaia perspective, and from the atheistic thermodynamic perspective, the individual creature strains existed , only during their short run, because it is only during that short run that they are processing the particular strain of excess heat the planet needs processed at this particular moment. Except in very reduced enclaves, the planet has no large scale methane budget to expend, so the methane-breathers are in Darwinian recession. Were a large methane budget to arise, make no mistake, some tiny smudge-critter from your septic tank would jump up and populate the planet, hopefully evolving its own Einsteins in some inconceivable latter age.

    Are we to recoil in horror, from the continuation of the self-same planetary processes which resulted in our being here in the first place? Is such revulsion for punctuated stability an ethical stance? Is it tenable, scientifically? Or is it a species-centric chauvinism of the highest order, a looney and unrealizable delusion of stopping the world, lest we be asked to get off? Is it a delinquent position to advocate no successor to humankind? Is it a sin against Kali, against Gaia, and a thermodynamic impossibility, since no specific planetary chemical budget can ever be guaranteed, in the dynamic processing bell-jar which is this self-eating planet?

    A great Darwinist scholar, long misrepresented as a religious figure, has puzzled through these issues for us, and provides many insights in his 1955 book, “The Human Phenomenon”. Teilhard de Chardin reassures us that the coming singularity is good at its center. He advises high morality in each of us, and deep hope. He predicts that mankind will take a Lamarckian leap out of the coming choke point. He predicts we will reduce physical budgets to the minimum, and expand informational budgets to a maximum degree inconceivable to us now, resulting in a successor-creature, surviving via its ethics, arising out of mankind, just as the 4-legged symmetricals arose out of the 13-leggers of the Cambrian. Our great luck, is that we might get to see it, personally. I hope it doesn’t hurt too much. And… I hope I don’t disgrace my kind, during the change.

    HS

  8. feww said

    There’s a massive dichotomy between our outlooks:

    The planets ecosystem our actually collapsing:
    https://feww.wordpress.com/collapsing-ecosystems/

    As of End March 2008, the MSRB-CASF Index of Human Impact on Nature (HIoN), an index for calculating the full impact of human consumption and activities on the Earth’s life support systems, stood at a terminally high level of 177.43, a rise of about 3.5 percent over the previous year. In other words, the full human impact including the ecological footprint and the damage inflicted on the living environment by his activities in the 12-month period ending March 2008 was 77.43 percent higher than the load which the planet’s ecosystems in their current state can cope with.
    https://feww.wordpress.com/2008/04/07/thats-mars-sister/

    The first wave of our cities are collapsing, possibly by as early as 2012.
    http://edro.wordpress.com/collapsing-cities/

    On average, there is about 4 years left before the critically low level of topsoil is reached globally. When the level falls below about 6 inches (15.2cm), productivity drops sharply, probably by as much as 70-80 percent.
    http://edro.wordpress.com/2008/02/18/topsoil/

    What is accelerating the collapse? ENERGY!

    The wholesale plunder of Earth’s ecological capacity and natural capital is facilitated by the human pillage of energy resources.
    http://msrb.wordpress.com/stop-burning-earth/

    Humans have lost the will to live!
    http://edro.wordpress.com/2008/11/04/a-most-powerful-mechanism-of-collapse/

    “Lifestyle” has forced humans to backtrack along the evolutionary track.
    Humans have mutated into “energy dinosaurs.” Mass extinction beckons …
    http://edro.wordpress.com/energy-dinosaurs/

    Please study the content of the pages as linked above. If you are still insisting on business as usual after reading everything, then there isn’t much else we could discuss.

    Have a nice day!

    FEWW

  9. H. Springer said

    Thanks for your reply.

    Nice collection of links!
    I see Jeff Rense is in there.
    Oh well!

    There is such a vast corpus of paranoid agitprop carefully and over-enthusiastically salted onto the Web concerning fission processes, that in drawing information from the public domain, one is now inevitably and intentionally shepherded into a subtle aversion for fission, an aversion that is not only politically correct, but politically indispensable in some “progressive” circles.

    It will not convince me, if you quote reams of this corpus….. I have read it in its entirety for over 15 years, and I can marshall a great link-set of both pro and anti invective, sufficient to “burn” any newbie, and thus dominate any chatroom….. but to what end?

    Hundreds of socially hopeful (but technically ignorant) commentors, have added to “The Book” on an almost daily basis, and some have “advanced” to being career issue jocks, bilking a dirty nickle out of flim-flamming unwashed masses on Huffington Post, and other mainstream Progressive outlets. It is all too easy to be misled.

    So what is my point?

    It is just this: Aside from the issue-mills and agitprop hack shops, there is indeed, still a real world spinning, out beyond the spin machine.

    In this real world, humankind (the information-hoarding hominid), has advanced beyond its primitive lot of scavenging behind herds of bovine hosts in the rift valley, by creating transferable culture, containing gradually amassed information, information which has granted civilization, art, religion, commerce, technology, and science.

    At no point in the rise of this race has it been possible to triage the information amassed. What was discovered, was added to the culture load, and remained there more or less permanently. Yes, Sumerian electroplating skills were lost, only to be rediscovered, as were many Chinese industrial processes, but these losses, and eventual recoveries, only serve to prove my point that knowledge injected into the culture is forever “Discovered” (Capital “D”), and becomes a virtual symbiont of the race, as a meme.

    To rephrase this, …..once humankind has discovered something…. be it the concept of zero, the smelting of metal, written language, or hardscience facts & theories, the meme blends with the biological race, becoming an amalgamated culture+biology whole, greater than the sum of its constituent parts, and is thus permanent.

    This is the basic mechanism driving “The Rise of Mankind”.

    It is telling, and ironical, that ancient thinkers (Pythagoras for one) believed that an undiscovered “Fifth Element” remained yet to be unearthed, beyond their naive quadruplet of Earth, Air, Fire & Water. (The movie of the same name aside), the meme of an as-yet unknown, but essential process of nature was indeed quite literally true, and remained true right through the renaissance, right through Newton’s Principia Mathematica, and right up until the investigations of Madame Curie around 1900.

    While Khufu built his pyramid, this unknown element existed, hardening the rocks that were used to build it. While Caesar killed barbarians, this element raged on, causing the sharpness in his legionaires’ spear-tips. While Michelangelo painted, this element created the colors in his pigments. While Lincoln freed the slaves, this element hinted its existence to us, by unexplainable marks on Matthew Brady’s photgraphic plates. A billion years before mankind existed, this element had fully expressed itself as bio-friendly, by going into full symbiosis with mats of bacteria in a riverbed in Oklo Gabon, Africa, warming and sustaining the bacteria, whose very living bodies acted as a moderators in the world’s first U235 fission reactor.

    The fact that mankind at large had ignored Pythagoras’ warning about the probable existence of something important & totally new, did not change the fact of it’s really being there, present for 14 billion years, ever since Carl Sagan’s First Six Minutes of time itself. Mankind often wished his pathetic little tote bag of prior information was sufficient,saying: “Religion is good enough”, or “Science is good enough”, or “National Socialist politics is good enough”. But this begged the issue, the issue being that mankind cannot censor reality.

    All attempts to censor reality have failed. From a witchdoctor’s tabu spell, to Goebbels’ burning of the books, to the crucifixion of Giordano Bruno and the jailing of Galileo, in each and every case, the knowledge proved stronger than political censorship, in the end.

    This is so because new knowledge goes into full cultural symbiosis with living humans, and changes them…. the new meme making it forever impossible for those humans carrying it to be enslaved as others, without the meme, had been before.

    So it is with the “Fifth Element” of terrestrial(or “nuclear”) power. If the core of this planet consisted only of iron, detailed computer simulations show that iron alone would be insufficient to create the heat actually present in the core. Recent models have demonstrated that large amounts of radioactive phosphorus & uranium are mixed into Earth’s core, and provide it with the extra heat which keeps the core warm, thus creating the conditions for life on the surface. Moreover, these computations show that the nuclear-induced heat causes swirling in the core….. and the swirling, via Maxwell’s Laws, causes a huge electromagnetic field to arise, defending our planet from both the solar wind, and otherwise lethal cosmic rays–ennabling life.

    Thus it is easily seen that the existence of life, and the continuation of life, is/are due exclusively to the presence of radioactivity embedded in the heart of the planet, and going further, in the “Gaia” model of a living planet, it is easily seen that the “Fifth Element”,..radioactivity, is the very beating heart of Gaia, and thus the empowering essence of life itself.

    If this is true….. then what are we to make of the vast corpus of anti-nuclear kant & rant now soaking the Web with paranoia, aversion, hatred, and censorship?

    You must, I’m afraid, come to your own conclusions.

    I’m just telling you that most of it is evil cultish nonsense, in the service of a few moneyed foundations, some of which derive their endowments from petro-enterprises.

    Would you stick your hand in a campfire? I doubt it. Would you jump off a 300 foot dam? Not if you were wise. Would you sit down to meditate in the fast lane of the New England Thruway? Not if you had any sense. Would you leave bare electrical wires in a baby’s crib? Not if you were ethical.

    Similarly, would you mis-handle the fifth element, allowing dangers to arise? Not if you were moral, ethical, fully informed, and had good sense. So it is with your peers now handling these powers. They are aware, socially hopeful progressive people, just like yourself, who know the facts, respect the needed precautions, and who care enough to sacrifice their ease, and their political correctness, to provide us all with carbon-free energy via the 5th Element.

    The purple prose raging against this power is misdirected, and self serving. Much of it is produced by unwitting dupes of hidden persuaders in the Petro-Cash Foundations.

    Do not think that by quoting mistaken and devious propaganda, that you have helped anyone.

    Humankind needs this power source. It has become symbiotically incorporated into the culture of the race.

    There is no going back.

    Have a nice day.

    HS

  10. H. Springer said

    Dear FEWW,

    I find my post of this A.M. has not appeared.
    In case my computer erred, I will post it once again.
    If it is being held up “in the moderation queue”,
    please forgive the double submission.

    Thanks for reading yesterday’s submission, I expected some contrary discussion… (a good thing), but not wholesale administrative censorship…. my information is fact-grounded, and strongly pro-Hudson in its implications. It is also needed, to break through a largely fictional and now-obsolete media position, inherited from certain failed publicity campaigns of the past, which Mr. Fitzgerald ( knowingly or unknowingly) propagates in his article.

    As far as wishing to see credentials before considering what is written, the NYS DEC has accepted the existence of Indian Point for 35 years, and has officially declared its impact on fish “inconsequential” for decades. It is only since the less-than-credible Spitzer et. al. regime expressed overt anti-nuclear intentions (against the wishes of 70% of its constituency) that a single DEC official has written a “designer statement” declaring (stipulating, in legal parlance) an imagined ecological harm, one that was NOT researched, …simply declared,… in an opinion contrary to 30 years of prior DEC research. THAT is the essence of my post.

    As far as seeking a disconnect between any writer, and the power industry, is that not expressing a preference for uninformed speculation over opinion stemming from hard knowledge? What value speculation could have, above and beyond actual hard fact, escapes my understanding, except if your intent is political…essentially a myth-making , or “community building” tactic. If that is your intent, my posts certainly require deletion. However, should you desire a deeper consideration of fact, I suggest you read through my little “analysis of scale” exercise ( below), and make your own judgement. At any rate, I write only as a uniquely informed, and concerned, Hudson valley citizen. ( I have been retired since 2001 ).

    According to the State University at Stony Brook, at URL
    http://life.bio.sunysb.edu/marinebio/fc.1.estuaries.html

    The majority of water flow in the Hudson estuary is tidal, amounting to some 425,000 cubic feet per second at the Battery. Fresh flow is much less, reaching a maximum of 30,000 cubic feet per second in April. The estuary flushes itself every 126 days. That is to say, after 126 days, all the water is new.

    At its maximum, 425000 plus 30000 gives 455000 cubic feet per second total water flow, fresh plus tidal. 126 days contain 10,886,400 seconds. Therefore a rough calculation of the total mass of water in the estuary equals: (455000 cubic feet/second) X ( 10,886,400 seconds) = 49,533,122,000,000 cubic feet of water.

    Indian Point’s circulating Water Pumps are 140,000 GPM pumps. There are 12 pumps ( all 12 are seldom used at once). 140,000 GPM is 2333 gallons per second. (2333) X (12 pumps) = 28,000 gallons per second, or 3740 cubic feet per second intake water for both units running at ultra maximum capacity. If all 12 pumps are run for the entire 126 days needed to replace the estuary water, (one flush) they will process 40,715,136,000 cubic feet of that water.

    (40,715,136,000) divided by ( 49,533,122,000,000) = 0.008
    At its maximum capacity, Indian Point touches less than one percent of the Hudson estuary’s water.

    That means that 99% of the estuary’s water mass never encounters Indian Point. To a fish, or an egg floating in the estuary that means more than 99% of them live their entire lives as if Indian Point did not exist.

    To give up the 2000 megawatts powering New York’s stock exchange, Metro North, Yankee Stadium, the Meadowlands, Madison Square Garden, every single shopping mall, and all the local airports to save 1% of the fish larvae may seem worthwhile to dedicated career ecologists, who want to see every egg miss Indian Point, but it may not be worthwhile to anyone else, not even to the fish.

    Fish lay eggs in a vast overkill, to compensate for predation and bad luck. Fish eggs are in no way comparable to human babies. Fish eggs are more accurately compared to human spermatozoa, the vast majority of which is expected to die, and which does die off, in a very normal and natural process that leads to a stable and healthy population.

    Moreover, Indian Point has a Fish Return System in place, which guides anything swimming in that 1% of the estuary’s water at the intake, along an escape weir that returns fish to the river downstream of IPEC, so that in effect far, far less than 1% of the estuary’s swimming inhabitants ever encounter Indian Point’s machinery, just the fish weir.

    Standing at Indian Point’s dock, one can see the ripples in the surface where a great gathering of creatures seek out the warm water flow from IPEC’s discharge. Gulls, herons, and other birds hover there, and underwater species such as the blue crab are allowed to live in this part of the Hudson, which otherwise would be too cold for them to survive. (Without IPEC, they would not be found north of the Chesapeake). So IPEC is supporting a flourishing micro-ecosphere at its discharge, one never mentioned by ecological opposers.

    Add to this, the recent invasion of the Hudson by non-native species via the great lakes shipping lanes, and it becomes unclear just what ecologists are striving to “protect”. Are we to give up our electricity, so that a melange of invasive “bum fish”, swamp grass and imported Russian zebra mussels can be more at home in their newly stolen North American habitat? Are some ecologists simply pandering for grant money? Is their focus unnaturally narrow and negative?

    The native Shad and Bass species are largely stable but 100% inedible, because of mercury and PCB contamination endemic to the Hudson, and having nothing to do with Indian Point. Many of these fish are lineal descendants of the billions of fish hatched at Indian Point’s own fish hatchery over 25 years. So does IPEC threaten the Hudson biosphere, as some claim, or has it instead become an integrated, supportive part of the ecological mix now found in the estuary?

    If you impartially study the state of Hudson River flora & fauna, it becomes clear that the estuary has changed and continues to change, due to the presence of human civilization, and the invasion of once-foreign species. The single largest living organism in the estuary is the invasive colony of zebra mussels, an infestation new since the 1970’s , and so large as to food-filter the entire mass of the estuary’s water every 1.4 days..(as per Lamont Doherty Lab). Certain invasive plants also clog the estuary, and the once-clean pebble-beds once used by the shad and other historical fish species for spawning, are now forever clogged with invasive non-native plants, man-made silt, and even PCB’s from the defunct GE plant upriver. Unimpeded access from the ocean for historical anadromous species is now permanently blocked by the dam at Troy, and without large fish-ladder construction, can only result in old fish species decline (and new invasive species increases). Ammonia influx from dozens of “grandfathered” sewage treatment plants has decimated spawned eggs of every species, and has led to a winnowing out of those species most susceptible, with a concomitant increase in foreign, more resistant species. Throughout all of this , Indian Point has been present, not part of any of these processes, a mere bystander to environmental history.

    (See: Some Relevant Research at my informational blogsite.)

    This is what is happening. This is also happening worldwide. It is a phenomenon so huge, that mankind lacks the resources to affect it, and also lacks knowledge enough to know just HOW to affect it. Perhaps the correct attitude would be to accept “Estuary Globalization” as an ongoing Planet-Process, in an acceptance of aquatic diversity, inevitable and even desirable in this new “Age without Borders”.

    It would be a great crime to misrepresent matters in any more simplistic way, to blame convenient local infrastructure installations, making them straw men for changes that are global, and much too large to be affected either by their closure, their remaining open, or their refitting. In my opinion, Riverkeeper’s poorly argued case is just such a red herring. If sewage influx is a huge killer, or the primary killer (See Link )and Riverkeeper , and therefore NYS DEC ignores it, focusing only on power plant input water, we could be left with no electricity AND a dead river, too. In my opinion, this is exactly what we are headed towards, should the courts accept the tunnel vision of Riverkeeper as “truth”, and rule against an innocent entity, while allowing the main culprits to continue on their destructive course. In the penumbra of a Democratic party administration capturing the Albany statehouse, Riverkeeper has moved to influence the NYS DEC. I know for a fact that Riverkeeper’s brief is woefully incomplete, self-serving, and a dead end. If this is indeed so, why would Riverkeeper make such claims? It could be that Riverkeeper’s focus on this issue is based on their historic coupling with Indian Point (winning $12 million from them in 1981), and is simply a matter of finding an already branded nearby target for less-than-relevant “activism”. In short, it seems convenient for RK to attack IP again, may pay off in a money sense as it has in the past, and provides a new campaign for the increasingly irrelevant organization. But envision a dead Hudson estuary, with no local electricity, filled with invasive fish species, and you will see the ghastly picture Riverkeeper is naively, irresponsibly leading us into. The success of a 501(c)3 charity organization is not worth the trashing of essential regional infrastructure, and the fish, such as they are, will neither be helped nor harmed by any of it. If I must choose between Indian Point and Riverkeeper, at this point, I choose Indian Point.

    (You may peruse my personal blog at: This Link ).

    Have a nice day.

  11. feww said

    Harry –
    FACT: Cooling towers kill fish and fish eggs.
    Whether the dead creatures are released back into the source (river/lake/sea) in any given instance is another story.
    Here’s the deal:
    – Start a blog (you can do one for free with a number of blogging hosts.)
    – Post some photos of your part of Hudson river, and let us know.
    – Once the Moderators can positively “ID” you, and establish that you are genuine and have no connection with the power industry, we’ll happily post your comments on this blog and discuss it with you.

  12. H. Springer said

    [Awaiting clarification. Withheld by Moderator: FEWW]

  13. That is so sad. I cannot stand the way these places treat animals.

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