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Oswego County plans for nuclear emergency

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A stash of potassium iodide pills are part of Oswego County's anti-nuclear emergency arsenal.

Marnie Eisenstadt at the Post-Standard reports on the "black phone" that rings when there's a threat of a nuclear incident at one of Oswego County's three nuclear plants, and details the county's emergency management plan:

Potassium iodide pills and radiation meters are tucked away in closets and storerooms at the county office building, the state fairgrounds and a highway garage in Parish. Hundreds of bus drivers are trained yearly so they could get school children and people without cars out of town. Police officers have kits with traffic plans and radiation meters to wear while they oversee a situation they can only imagine will be chaos. The county does a full-scale drill every year. Hundreds of people from Oswego and Onondaga counties are called in. And, every other year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency grades the county’s performance. In the most recent report, there were only minor deficiencies.

Writing in a commentary at the Times Union Fred LeBrun argues that New York needs that Indian Point nuclear plant that's been much discussed lately:

So what's at stake if we shut down Indian Point? Depending on atmospheric conditions, these two reactors provide between 30 and 40 percent of New York City's power on any given day and New York City requires well over half of the power available in the state. Nuclear power is by far the cheapest energy source, and among the cleanest. That would be 2,000 megawatts lost. No amount of energy conservation could make it up. So Gotham would probably buy power from nasty coal-burning plants in Pennsylvania and Maryland, at a much higher rate and environmental cost. Meanwhile, an iffy transmission line that would bring cheap hydroelectric power from Canada down the Hudson is in the works, but is running into problems down river. The state needs more power plants and especially transmission lines, but has no process for siting a new generation.

Canadian power

New York's Independent Systems Operator has signed a deal with a Canadian hydropower operator to reduce the cost of power transmitted from Quebec to New York State.  Larry Rulison reports at the Times Union that while the savings from the deal likely won't show up on power bills, it could help balance variable power supply from upstate wind farms:

NYISO Chief Executive Officer Stephen Whitley has been working with other transmission regulators to reduce the constraints of their connections in an effort to reduce costs and make the electrical grid more efficient. "By reducing the time between the scheduling and pricing of energy at the Quebec border, we will increase efficiency and reduce costs to our consumers," Whitley said. "This is an important first step in the Broader Regional Markets initiative that will expand the pool of resources available to help the NYISO and our neighbors in Quebec balance the increasing growth of variable energy resources such as wind power."

Natural gas

There's a rundown of all of upcoming Marcellus shale conferences in Pennsylvania by Anya Litvak at the Pittsburgh Business Times.

And Cornell University is shutting down is converting its coal power plant to a natural gas powered plant, reports Darren Dodge at WBNG.  Emma Jacobs will have more on that story later today.

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