The Main Cause of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Indian Point Energy Center

Nuclear power plant in Buchanan, New York

Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC) is a three-unit nuclear power plant station located in Buchanan, New York, just south of Peekskill. It sits on the east bank of the Hudson River, about 36 miles (58 km) north of Midtown Manhattan. The plant generates over 2,000 megawatts (MWe) of electrical power. For reference, the record peak energy consumption of New York City and Westchester County (the ConEdison Service Territory) was set during a seven-day heat wave on July 19, 2013, at 13,322 megawatts.[3] Electrical energy consumption varies greatly with time of day and season.[4]

Quick Facts: Country, Location …

The plant is owned and operated by Entergy Nuclear Northeast, a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation, and includes two operating Westinghouse pressurized water reactors—designated “Indian Point 2” and “Indian Point 3″—which Entergy bought from Consolidated Edison and the New York Power Authority respectively. The facility also contains the permanently shut-down Indian Point Unit 1 reactor. As of 2015, the number of permanent jobs at the Buchanan plant is approximately 1,000.

The original 40-year operating licenses for units 2 and 3 expired in September 2013 and December 2015, respectively. Entergy had applied for license extensions and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was moving toward granting a twenty-year extension for each reactor. However, after pressure from local environmental groups and New York governor Andrew Cuomo, it was announced that the plant is scheduled to be shut down by 2021.[5] Local groups had cited increasingly frequent issues with the aging units, ongoing environmental releases, and the proximity of the plant to New York City.[6]


History and design

The reactors are built on land that originally housed the Indian Point Amusement Park, but was acquired by Consolidated Edison (ConEdison) on October 14, 1954.[7] Indian Point 1, built by ConEdison, was a 275-megawatt Babcock & Wilcox supplied [8] pressurized water reactor that was issued an operating license on March 26, 1962 and began operations on September 16, 1962.[9] The first core used a thorium-based fuel with stainless steel cladding, but this fuel did not live up to expectations for core life.[10] The plant was operated with uranium dioxide fuel for the remainder of its life. The reactor was shut down on October 31, 1974, because the emergency core cooling system did not meet regulatory requirements. All spent fuel was removed from the reactor vessel by January 1976, but the reactor still stands.[11] The licensee, Entergy, plans to decommission Unit 1 when Unit 2 is decommissioned.[12]

The two additional reactors, Indian Point 2 and 3, are four-loop Westinghouse pressurized water reactors both of similar design. Units 2 and 3 were completed in 1974 and 1976, respectively. Unit 2 has a generating capacity of 1,032 MW, and Unit 3 has a generating capacity of 1,051 MW. Both reactors use uranium dioxide fuel of no more than 4.8% U-235 enrichment. The reactors at Indian Point are protected by containment domes made of steel-reinforced concrete that is 40 inches thick, with a carbon steel liner.[13]

Nuclear capacity in New York state

Units 2 and 3 are two of six operating nuclear energy sources in New York State. New York is one of the five largest states in terms of nuclear capacity and generation, accounting for approximately 5% of the national totals. Indian Point provides 39% of the state’s nuclear capacity. Nuclear power produces 34.2% of the state’s electricity, higher than the U.S. average of 20.6%. In 2017, Indian Point generated approximately 10% of the state’s electricity needs, and 25% of the electricity used in New York City and Westchester County.[14] Its contract with Consolidated Edison is for just 560 megawatts. The New York Power Authority, which built Unit 3, stopped buying electricity from Indian Point in 2012. NYPA supplies the subways, airports, and public schools and housing in NYC and Westchester County. Entergy sells the rest of Indian Point’s output into the NYISO administered electric wholesale markets and elsewhere in New England.[15][16][17][18] In 2013, New York had the fourth highest average electricity prices in the United States. Half of New York’s power demand is in the New York City region; about two-fifths of generation originates there.[19][20]


The currently operating Units 2 and 3 are each refueled on a two-year cycle. At the end of each fuel cycle, one unit is brought offline for refueling and maintenance activities. On March 2, 2015, Indian Point 3 was taken offline for 23 days to perform its refueling operations. Entergy invested $50 million in the refueling and other related projects for Unit 3, of which $30 million went to employee salaries. The unit was brought back online on March 25, 2015.[21]


Economic impact

A June 2015 report by a lobby group called Nuclear Energy Institute found that the operation of Indian Point generates $1.3 billion of annual economic output in local counties, $1.6 billion statewide, and $2.5 billion across the United States. In 2014, Entergy paid $30 million in state and local property taxes. The total tax revenue (direct and secondary) was nearly $340 million to local, state, and federal governments.[15] According to the Village of Buchanan budget for 2016–2017, a payment in lieu of taxes in the amount of $2.62 million was received in 2015-2016, and was projected to be $2.62 million in 2016–2017 – the majority of which can be assumed to come from the Indian Point Energy Center.[22]

Over the last decade, the station has maintained a capacity factor of greater than 93 percent. This is consistently higher than the nuclear industry average and than other forms of generation. The reliability helps offset the severe price volatility of other energy sources (e.g., natural gas) and the indeterminacy of renewable electricity sources (e.g., solar, wind).[15]

Indian Point directly employs about 1,000 full-time workers. This employment creates another 2,800 jobs in the five-county region, and 1,600 in other industries in New York, for a total of 5,400 in-state jobs. Additionally, another 5,300 indirect jobs are created out of state, creating a sum total of 10,700 jobs throughout the United States.[15]

Environmental concerns

Environmentalists have expressed concern about increased carbon emissions with the impending shutdown of Indian Point (generating electricity with nuclear energy creates no carbon emissions). A study undertaken by Environmental Progress found that closure of the plant would cause power emissions to jump 29% in New York, equivalent to the emissions from 1.4 million additional cars on New York roads.[23]

Some environmental groups have expressed concerns about the operation of Indian Point, including radiation pollution and endangerment of wildlife, but whether Indian Point has ever posed a significant danger to wildlife or the public remains controversial. Though anti-nuclear group Riverkeeper notes “Radioactive leakage from the plant containing several radioactive isotopes, such as strontium-90, cesium-137, cobalt-60, nickel-63 and tritium, a rarely-occurring isotope of hydrogen, has flowed into groundwater that eventually enters the Hudson River in the past[24], there is no evidence radiation from the plant has ever posed a significant hazard to local residents or wildlife. In the last year[when?], nine tritium leaks have occurred, however, even at their highest levels the leaks have never exceeded one-tenth of one percent of US Nuclear Regulatory Commission limits.

In February 2016, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo called for a full investigation by state environment[25] and health officials and is partnering with organizations like Sierra Club, Riverkeepers, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, Scenic Hudson and Physicians for Social Responsibility in seeking the permanent closure of the plant.[citation needed] However, Cuomo’s motivation for closing the plant was called into question after it was revealed two top former aides, under federal prosecution for influence-peddling, had lobbied on behalf of natural gas company Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) to kill Indian Point. In his indictment, US attorney Preet Bharara wrote “the importance of the plant [CPV’s proposed Valley Energy Center, a plant powered by natural gas] to the State depended at least in part, on whether [Indian Point] was going to be shut down.”[26]

In April 2016 climate scientist James Hansen took issue with calls to shut the plant down, including those from presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. “The last few weeks have seen an orchestrated campaign to mislead the people of New York about the essential safety and importance of Indian Point nuclear plant to address climate change,” wrote Hansen, adding “Sanders has offered no evidence that NRC [U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission] has failed to do its job, and he has no expertise in over-riding NRC’s judgement. For the sake of future generations who could be harmed by irreversible climate change, I urge New Yorkers to reject this fear mongering and uphold science against ideology.”[27]

Indian Point removes water from the nearby Hudson River. Despite the use of fish screens, the cooling system kills over a billion fish eggs and larvae annually.[28] According to one NRC report from 2010, as few as 38% of alewives survive the screens.[29] On September 14, 2015, a state hearing began in regards to the deaths of fish in the river, and possibly implementing a shutdown period from May to August. An Indian Point spokesman stated that such a period would be unnecessary, as Indian Point “is fully protective of life in the Hudson River and $75 million has been spent over the last 30 years on scientific studies demonstrating that the plant has no harmful impact to adult fish.” The hearings lasted three weeks.[30] Concerns were also raised over the planned building of new cooling towers, which would cut down forest land that is suspected to be used as breeding ground by muskrat and mink. At the time of the report, no minks or muskrats were spotted there.[29]


Indian Point Energy Center has been given an incredible amount of scrutiny from the media and politicians and is regulated more heavily than various other power plants in the state of New York (i.e., by the NRC in addition to FERC, the NYSPSC, the NYISO, the NYSDEC, and the EPA). On a forced outage basis – incidents related to electrical equipment failure that force a plant stoppage – it provides a much more reliable operating history than most other power plants in New York.[31][32] Beginning at the end of 2015, Governor Cuomo began to ramp up political action against the Indian Point facility, opening an investigation with the state public utility commission, the department of health, and the department of environmental conservation.[33][34][35][30][36][37] To put the public service commission investigation in perspective: most electric outage investigations conducted by the commission are in response to outages with a known number of affected retail electric customers.[38] By November 17, 2017, the NYISO accepted Indian Point’s retirement notice.[39]

In 1997, Indian Point Unit 3 was removed from the NRC’s list of plants that receive increased attention from the regulator. An engineer for the NRC noted that the plant had been experiencing increasingly fewer problems during inspections.[40] On March 10, 2009 the Indian Point Power Plant was awarded the fifth consecutive top safety rating for annual operations by the Federal regulators. According to the Hudson Valley Journal News, the plant had shown substantial improvement in its safety culture in the previous two years.[41] A 2003 report commissioned by then-Governor George Pataki concluded that the “current radiological response system and capabilities are not adequate to…protect the people from an unacceptable dose of radiation in the event of a release from Indian Point”.[42] More recently, in December 2012 Entergy commissioned a 400-page report on the estimates of evacuation times. This report, performed by emergency planning company KLD Engineering, concluded that the existing traffic management plans provided by Orange, Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester Counties are adequate and require no changes.[43] According to one list that ranks U.S. nuclear power plants by their likelihood of having a major natural disaster related incident, Indian Point is the most likely to be hit by a natural disaster, mainly an earthquake.[44][45][46][47] Despite this, the owners of the plant still say that safety is a selling point for the nuclear power plant.[48]Incidents

 In 1973, five months after Indian Point 2 opened, the plant was shut down when engineers discovered buckling in the steel liner of the concrete dome in which the nuclear reactor is housed.[49]

 On October 17, 1980,[50] 100,000 gallons of Hudson River water leaked into the Indian Point 2 containment building from the fan cooling unit, undetected by a safety device designed to detect hot water. The flooding, covering the first nine feet of the reactor vessel, was discovered when technicians entered the building. Two pumps that should have removed the water were found to be inoperative. NRC proposed a $2,100,000 fine for the incident.

 In February 2000, Unit 2 experienced a Steam Generator Tube Rupture (SGTR), which allowed primary water to leak into the secondary system through one of the steam generators.[51] All four steam generators were subsequently replaced.[citation needed]

 In 2005, Entergy workers while digging discovered a small leak in a spent fuel pool. Water containing tritium and strontium-90 was leaking through a crack in the pool building and then finding its way into the nearby Hudson River. Workers were able to keep the spent fuel rods safely covered despite the leak.[52] On March 22, 2006 The New York Times also reported finding radioactive nickel-63 and strontium in groundwater on site.[53]

 In 2007, a transformer at Unit 3 caught fire, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission raised its level of inspections, because the plant had experienced many unplanned shutdowns. According to The New York Times, Indian Point “has a history of transformer problems”.[54]

 On April 23, 2007, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission fined the owner of the Indian Point nuclear plant $130,000 for failing to meet a deadline for a new emergency siren plan. The 150 sirens at the plant are meant to alert residents within 10 miles to a plant emergency.[55]

 On January 7, 2010, NRC inspectors reported that an estimated 600,000 gallons of mildly radioactive steam was intentionally vented to the atmosphere after an automatic shutdown of Unit 2. After the vent, one of the vent valves unintentionally remained slightly open for two days. The levels of tritium in the steam were within the allowable safety limits defined in NRC standards.[56]

 On November 7, 2010, an explosion occurred in a main transformer for Indian Point 2, spilling oil into the Hudson River.[57] Entergy later agreed to pay a $1.2 million penalty for the transformer explosion.[54]

 July 2013, a former supervisor, who worked at the Indian Point nuclear power plant for twenty-nine years, was arrested for falsifying the amount of particulate in the diesel fuel for the plant’s backup generators.[58]

 On May 9, 2015, a transformer failed at Indian Point 3, causing the automated shutdown of reactor 3. A fire that resulted from the failure was extinguished, and the reactor was placed in a safe and stable condition.[59] The failed transformer contained about 24,000 gallons of dielectric fluid, which is used as an insulator and coolant when the transformer is energized. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that about 3,000 gallons of dielectric fluid entered the river following the failure.[60]

 In June 2015, a mylar balloon floated into a switchyard, causing an electrical problem resulting in the shutdown of Reactor 3.[61]

 In July 2015, Reactor 3 was shut down after a water pump failure.[citation needed]

 On December 5, 2015, Indian Point 2 was shut down after several control rods lost power.[62]

 On February 6, 2016, Governor Andrew Cuomo informed the public that radioactive tritium-contaminated water leaked into the groundwater at the Indian Point Nuclear facility.[25]

Spent fuel

Indian Point stores used fuel rods in two spent fuel pools at the facility.[52] The spent fuel pools at Indian Point are not stored under a containment dome like the reactor, but rather they are contained within an indoor 40-foot-deep pool and submerged under 27 feet of water. Water is a natural and effective barrier to radiation. The spent fuel pools at Indian Point are set in bedrock and are constructed of concrete walls that are four to six feet wide, with a quarter-inch thick stainless steel inner liner. The pools each have multiple redundant backup cooling systems.[52][63]

Indian Point began dry cask storage of spent fuel rods in 2008, which is a safe and environmentally sound option according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.[64] Some rods have already been moved to casks from the spent fuel pools. The pools will be kept nearly full of spent fuel, leaving enough space to allow emptying the reactor completely.[65] Dry cask storage systems are designed to resist floods, tornadoes, projectiles, temperature extremes, and other unusual scenarios. The NRC requires the spent fuel to be cooled and stored in the spent fuel pool for at least five years before being transferred to dry casks.[66]

Earthquake risk

In 2008, researchers from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory located a previously unknown active seismic zone running from Stamford, Connecticut, to the Hudson Valley town of Peekskill, New York—the intersection of the Stamford-Peekskill line with the well-known Ramapo Fault—which passes less than a mile north of the Indian Point nuclear power plant.[67] The Ramapo Fault is the longest fault in the Northeast, but scientists dispute how active this roughly 200-million-year-old fault really is. Many earthquakes in the state’s surprisingly varied seismic history are believed to have occurred on or near it. Visible at ground level, the fault line likely extends as deep as nine miles below the surface.[68]

In July 2013, Entergy engineers reassessed the risk of seismic damage to Unit 3 and submitted their findings in a report to the NRC. It was found that risk leading to reactor core damage is 1 in 106,000 reactor years using U.S. Geological Survey data; and 1 in 141,000 reactor years using Electric Power Research Institute data. Unit 3’s previous owner, the New York Power Authority, had conducted a more limited analysis in the 1990s than Unit 2’s previous owner, Con Edison, leading to the impression that Unit 3 had fewer seismic protections than Unit 2. Neither submission of data from the previous owners was incorrect.[69]

According to a company spokesman, Indian Point was built to withstand an earthquake of 6.1 on the Richter scale.[70] Entergy executives have also noted “that Indian Point had been designed to withstand an earthquake much stronger than any on record in the region, though not one as powerful as the quake that rocked Japan.”[71]

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at Indian Point was Reactor 2: 1 in 30,303; Reactor 3: 1 in 10,000, according to an NRC study published in August 2010. reported based on the NRC data that “Indian Point nuclear reactor No. 3 has the highest risk of earthquake damage in the country, according to new NRC risk estimates provided to” According to the report, the reason is that plants in known earthquake zones like California were designed to be more quake-resistant than those in less affected areas like New York.[72][73] The NRC did not dispute the numbers but responded in a release that “The NRC results to date should not be interpreted as definitive estimates of seismic risk,” because the NRC does not rank plants by seismic risk.[74]

IPEC Units 2 and 3 both operated at 100% full power before, during, and after the Virginia earthquake on August 23, 2011. A thorough inspection of both units by plant personnel immediately following this event verified no significant damage occurred at either unit.

Emergency planning

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission defines two emergency planning zones around nuclear power plants: a plume exposure pathway zone with a radius of 10 miles (16 km), concerned primarily with exposure to, and inhalation of, airborne radioactive contamination, and an ingestion pathway zone of about 50 miles (80 km), concerned primarily with ingestion of food and liquid contaminated by radioactivity.[75]

According to an analysis of U.S. Census data for MSNBC, the 2010 U.S. population within 10 miles (16 km) of Indian Point was 272,539, an increase of 17.6 percent during the previous ten years. The 2010 U.S. population within 50 miles (80 km) was 17,220,895, an increase of 5.1 percent since 2000. Cities within 50 miles include New York (41 miles to city center); Bridgeport, Conn. (40 miles); Newark, N.J. (39 miles); and Stamford, Conn. (24 miles).[76]

In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima incident in Japan, the State Department recommended that any Americans in Japan stay beyond fifty miles from the area.[citation needed] Columnist Peter Applebome, writing in The New York Times, noted that such an area around Indian Point would include “almost all of New York City except for Staten Island; almost all of Nassau County and much of Suffolk County; all of Bergen County, N.J.; all of Fairfield, Conn.” He quotes Purdue University professor Daniel Aldrich as saying “Many scholars have already argued that any evacuation plans shouldn’t be called plans, but rather “fantasy documents””.[42]

The current 10-mile plume-exposure pathway Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) is one of two EPZs intended to facilitate a strategy for protective action during an emergency and comply with NRC regulations. “The exact size and shape of each EPZ is a result of detailed planning which includes consideration of the specific conditions at each site, unique geographical features of the area, and demographic information. This preplanned strategy for an EPZ provides a substantial basis to support activity beyond the planning zone in the extremely unlikely event it would be needed.”[77]

In an interview, Entergy executives said they doubt that the evacuation zone would be expanded to reach as far as New York City.[71]

Indian Point is protected by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, including a National Guard base within a mile of the facility, as well as by private off-site security forces.[78]

During the September 11 attacks, American Airlines Flight 11 flew near the Indian Point Energy Center en route to the World Trade Center. Mohamed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers/plotters, had considered nuclear facilities for targeting in a terrorist attack.[79] Entergy says it is prepared for a terrorist attack, and asserts that a large airliner crash into the containment building would not cause reactor damage.[80] Following 9/11 the NRC required operators of nuclear facilities in the U.S. to examine the effects of terrorist events and provide planned responses.[81] In September 2006, the Indian Point Security Department successfully completed mock assault exercises required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.[citation needed] However, according to environmental group Riverkeeper, these NRC exercises are inadequate because they do not envision a sufficiently large group of attackers.[citation needed]

According to The New York Times, fuel stored in dry casks is less vulnerable to terrorist attack than fuel in the storage pools.[65]


Units 2 and 3 were both originally licensed by the NRC for 40 years of operation. The NRC limits commercial power reactor licenses to an initial 40 years, but also permits such licenses to be renewed. This original 40-year term for reactor licenses was based on economic and antitrust considerations, not on limitations of nuclear technology. Due to this selected period, however, some structures and components may have been engineered on the basis of an expected 40-year service life.[82] The original federal license for Unit Two expired on September 28, 2013,[83][84] and the license for Unit Three was due to expire in December 2015.[85] On April 30, 2007, Entergy submitted an application for a 20-year renewal of the licenses for both units. On May 2, 2007, the NRC announced that this application is available for public review.[86] Because the owner submitted license renewal applications at least five years prior to the original expiration date, the units are allowed to continue operation past this date while the NRC considers the renewal application.

On September 23, 2007, the antinuclear group Friends United for Sustainable Energy (FUSE) filed legal papers with the NRC opposing the relicensing of the Indian Point 2 reactor. The group contended that the NRC improperly held Indian Point to less stringent design requirements. The NRC responded that the newer requirements were put in place after the plant was complete.[87]

On December 1, 2007, Westchester County Executive Andrew J. Spano, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, and New York Governor Eliot Spitzer called a press conference with the participation of environmental advocacy groups Clearwater and Riverkeeper to announce their united opposition to the re-licensing of the Indian Point nuclear power plants. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of the Attorney General requested a hearing as part of the process put forth by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.[citation needed] In September 2007 The New York Times reported on the rigorous legal opposition Entergy faces in its request for a 20-year licensing extension for Indian Point Nuclear Reactor 2.[87]

A water quality certificate is a prerequisite for a twenty-year renewal by the NRC.[citation needed] On April 3, 2010, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ruled that Indian Point violates the federal Clean Water Act,[88] because “the power plant’s water-intake system kills nearly a billion aquatic organisms a year, including the shortnose sturgeon, an endangered species.”[citation needed] The state is demanding that Entergy constructs new closed-cycle cooling towers at a cost of over $1 billion, a decision that will effectively close the plant for nearly a year. Regulators denied Entergy’s request to install fish screens that they said would improve fish mortality more than new cooling towers. Anti-nuclear groups and environmentalists have in the past tried to close the plant,[citation needed] which is in a more densely populated area than any of the 66 other nuclear plant sites in the US.[citation needed] Opposition to the plant[from whom?] increased after the September 2001 terror attacks,[citation needed] when one of the hijacked jets flew close to the plant on its way to the World Trade Center.[citation needed] Public worries also increased after the 2011 Japanese Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and after a report highlighting the Indian Point plant’s proximity to the Ramapo Fault.[citation needed]

Advocates of recertifying Indian Point include former New York City mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rudolph W. Giuliani. Bloomberg says that “Indian Point is critical to the city’s economic viability”.[89] The New York Independent System Operator maintains that in the absence of Indian Point, grid voltages would degrade, which would limit the ability to transfer power from upstate New York resources through the Hudson Valley to New York City.[90]

As the current governor, Andrew Cuomo continues to call for closure of Indian Point.[91] In late June 2011, a Cuomo advisor in a meeting with Entergy executives informed them for the first time directly of the Governor’s intention to close the plant, while the legislature approved a bill to streamline the process of siting replacement plants.[92]

Nuclear energy industry figures and analysts responded to Cuomo’s initiative by questioning whether replacement electrical plants could be certified and built rapidly enough to replace Indian Point, given New York state’s “cumbersome regulation process”, and also noted that replacement power from out of state sources will be hard to obtain because New York has weak ties to generation capacity in other states.[citation needed] They said that possible consequences of closure will be a sharp increase in the cost of electricity for downstate users and even “rotating black-outs”.[93]

Several members of the House of Representatives representing districts near the plant have also opposed recertification, including Democrats Nita Lowey, Maurice Hinchey, and Eliot Engel and then Republican member Sue Kelly.[94]

In November 2016 the New York Court of Appeals ruled that the application to renew the NRC operating licences must be reviewed against the state’s coastal management program, which The New York State Department of State had already decided was inconsistent with coastal management requirements. Entergy has filed a lawsuit regarding the validity of Department of State’s decision.[95]


Beginning at the end of 2015, Governor Cuomo began to ramp up political action against the Indian Point facility, opening investigations with the state public utility commission, the department of health and the department of environmental conservation.[33][34][35][30][36][37] To put the public service commission investigation in perspective, most electric outage investigations conducted by the commission are in response to outages with a known number of affected retail electric customers.[38] By November 17, 2017, the NYISO accepted Indian Point’s retirement notice.[39]

In January 2017, the governor’s office announced closure by 2020-21.[96] The closure, along with pollution control, challenges New York’s ability to be supplied.[citation needed] Among the solution proposals are storage, renewables (solar and wind), a new transmission cables from Canada [97][98] and a 650MW natural gas plant located in Wawayanda, New York.[99] There was also a 1,000 MW merchant HVDC transmission line proposed in 2013 to the public service commission that would have interconnected at Athens, New York and Buchanan, New York, however this project was indefinitely stalled when its proposed southern converter station site was bought by the Town of Cortlandt in a land auction administered by Con Edison.[100][101][102] As of October 1, 2018, the 650 MW plant built in Wawayanda, New York, by CPV Valley, is operating commercially.[103] The CPV Valley plant has been associated with Governor Cuomo’s close aid, Joe Percoco, and the associated corruption trial.[104] Another plant being built, Cricket Valley Energy Center, rated at 1,100 MW, is on schedule to provide energy by 2020 in Dover, New York.[105] An Indian Point contingency plan, initiated in 2012 by the NYSPSC under the administration of Cuomo, solicited energy solutions from which a Transmission Owner Transmission Solutions (TOTS) plan was selected. The TOTS projects provide 450 MW[106] of additional transfer capability across a NYISO defined electric transmission corridor in the form of three projects: series compensation at a station in Marcy, New York, reconductoring a transmission line, adding an additional transmission line, and “unbottling” Staten Island capacity. These projects, with the exception of part of the Staten Island “unbottling” were in service by mid-2016. The cost of the TOTS projects are distributed among various utilities in their rate cases before the public service commission and the cost allocation amongst themselves was approved by FERC. NYPA and LIPA are also receiving a portion. The cost of the TOTS projects has been estimated in the range of $27 million to $228 million.[107][108][109][110][111] An energy highway initiative was also prompted by this order (generally speaking, additional lines on the Edic-Pleasant Valley and the Oakdale-Fraser transmission corridors) which is still going through the regulatory process in both the NYISO and NYSPSC.

Under the current plan, one reactor is scheduled to be shut down in April 2020 and the second by April 2021.[112] A report by the New York Building Congress, a construction industry association, has said that NYC will need additional natural gas pipelines to accommodate the city’s increasing demand for energy. Environmentalists have argued that the power provided by Indian point can be replaced by renewable energy, combined with conservation measures and improvements to the efficiency of the electrical grid.[113] 

How General Soleimani changed the Iranian Horn: Daniel 8

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

How General Soleimani kick-started the multipolar world

Sunday, 08 January 2023 10:26 AM  [ Last Update: Sunday, 08 January 2023 10:26 AM ]

By Pepe Escobar

The consensus among future historians will be inevitable: the 2020s started with a diabolic murder.            

Baghdad airport, January 3, 2020, 00:52 a.m. local time. The assassination of Gen.QassemSoleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic RevolutionGuards Corps (IRGC), alongside Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi, by laser-guided AGM-114 Hellfire missiles launched from two MQ-9 Reaper drones, was, in fact, murder as an act of war.

This act of war set the tone for the new decade and inspired my book Raging Twenties: Great Power Politics Meets Techno-Feudalism, published in early 2021. 

The drone strikes at Baghdad airport, directly approved by the pop entertainer/entrepreneur then ruling the Hegemon, Donald Trump, constituted an imperial act engineered as a stark provocation, capable of engendering an Iranian reaction that would then be countered by, “self-defense”, packaged as “deterrence”.

The proverbial narrative barrage spun to saturation, ruled it as a “targeted killing”: a pre-emptive op squashing Gen. Soleimani’s alleged planning of “imminent attacks” against US diplomats and troops.No evidence whatsoever was provided to support the claim.

Everyone not only along the Axis of Resistance – Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus, Hezbollah – but across the Global South had been aware of how Gen. Soleimani led the fight against Daesh in Iraq from 2014 to 2015, and how he had been instrumental in retaking Tikrit in 2015. 

This was his real role – a true warrior of the war on terror, not the war of terror. For the Empire, to admit his aura glowed even across – vassalized – lands of Sunni Islam was anathema. 

It was up to then-Iraqi Prime MinisterAdil Abdul-Mahdi, in front of Parliament in Baghdad, to offer the definitive context: Gen. Soleimani, on a diplomatic mission, had boarded a regular Cham Wings Airbus A320 flight from Damascus to Baghdad. He was involved in complex negotiations between Tehran and Riyadh, with the Iraqi Prime Minister as a mediator, and all that at the request of President Trump.

So the imperial machine – following trademark, decades-long mockery of international law – assassinated a de-facto diplomatic envoy.

In fact two, because al-Muhandis exhibited the same leadership qualities as Gen. Soleimani, actively promoting synergy between the battlefield and diplomacy, and was considered absolutely irreplaceable as a key political articulator in Iraq.  

Gen. Soleimani’s assassination had been “encouraged” since 2007 by a toxic mixture of Straussian neo-cons and neoliberal-cons -supremely ignorant of Southwest Asia’s history, culture, and politics – in tandem with the Israeli and Saudi lobbies in Washington.

Trump, blissfully ignorant of international relations and foreign policy matters, could not possibly understand The Big Picture and its dire ramifications when he had only Israeli-firsters of the Jared“of Arabia” Kushner kind whispering in his ear.  

The King is now Naked

But then everything went downhill.

Tehran’s direct response to Gen.Soleimani’s assassination, in fact quite restrained considering the circumstances, was carefully measured to not unleash unrestrained imperial “deterrence”.

It took the form of a series of precision missile strikes on the American-controlled Ain al-Assad air base in Iraq. The Pentagon, crucially, received an advance warning.

And it was precisely that measured response that turned out to be the game-changer.

Tehran’s message made it graphically clear – for the whole Global South to see – that the days of imperial impunity were over.

Any exceptionalist with a working brain would not fail to get the message: we can hit your assets anywhere in the Persian Gulf – and beyond, at the time of our choosing.

So this was the first instance in which Gen Soleimani, even after leaving his mortal coil, contributed to the birth of the multipolar world.

Those precision missile strikes on the Ain al-Assad base told the story of a mid-ranked power, enfeebled by decades of sanctions, and facing a massive economic/financial crisis, responding to a unilateral attack by targeting imperial assets that are part of the sprawling 800-plus Empire of Bases.

Historically, that was a global first –unheard of since the end of WWII.

And that was clearly interpreted across Southwest Asia – as well as vast swathes of the Global South – for what it was: The King is now Naked.

Surveying the shifting chessboard

Three years after the actual murder, we may now see several other instances of Gen. Soleimani paving the way toward multipolarity.

There was a regime change at the Hegemon – with Trumpism being replaced by a toxic neoliberal-con cabal, infiltrated by Straussian neo-cons, remote-controlling a senile warmongering entity barely qualified to read a teleprompter.

This cabal’s foreign policy turned out to be supremely paranoid, antagonizing not only the Islamic Republic but also the Russia-China strategic partnership.

These three actors happen to be the three top vectors in the ongoing process of Eurasia integration.      

Gen Soleimani may have foreseen, ahead of anyone else except Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, that the JCPOA – or Iran nuclear deal – was definitely six feet under, as the recent farce these past few months in Vienna made it clear.

So he could have possibly foreseen that with a new administration under President EbrahimRaisi, Tehran would finally abandon any hope of being “accepted” by the collective West and wholeheartedly embrace its Eurasian destiny. 

Years before the assassination, Gen. Soleimanihad already envisaged a “normalization” between the Israeli regime and Persian Gulf monarchies.

At the same time he was also very much aware of the Arab League 2002 position – shared, among others, by Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon: a “normalization” cannot even begin to be discussed without an independent – and viable – Palestinian state under 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as capital.

Gen. Soleimani did see the Big Picture all across West Asia, from Cairo to Tehran and from the Bosphorus to the Bab-al-Mandeb. He certainly foresaw the inevitable “normalization” of Syria in the Arab world – and even with Turkey, now a work in progress.

He arguably had imprinted in his brain the possible timeline followed by the Empire of Chaos to completely ditch Afghanistan – though certainly not the extent of the humiliating retreat – and how that would reconfigure all bets from West Asia to Central Asia.

What he certainly didn’t know was that the Empire left Afghanistan to concentrate all its Divide and Rule/strategy of chaos bets on Ukraine, in a lethal proxy war against Russia. 

It’s easy to see Gen.Soleimani foreseeing Abu Dhabi’s Mohammad bin Zayed (MbZ), MbS’s mentor, placing his bets simultaneously on an Israel-Emirates free trade deal and a détente with Iran.

He could have been part of the diplomatic team when MbZ’ssecurity advisor Sheikh Tahnoonmet with President Raisi in Tehran over a year ago, even discussing the war in Yemen.

He could also have foreseen what took place this past weekend in Brasilia, on the sidelines of the dramatic return of Lula to the Brazilian presidency: Saudi and Iranian officials, in neutral territory, discussing their possible détente.  

As the whole chessboard across West Asia is being reconfigured at breakneck speed, perhaps the only developmentGen.Soleimani would not have foreseen is the petro-yuan displacing the petrodollar “in the space of three to five years”, as suggested by Chinese President Xi Jinping in his recent landmark summit with the GCC. 

I have a dream

The profound reverence towards Gen. Soleimani expressed by every layer of Iranian society – from the grassroots to the leadership – has certainly translated into honoring his life’s work by finding Iran’s deserved place in multipolarity. 

Iran is now solidified as one of the key nodes of the New Silk Roads in Southwest Asia. The Iran-China strategic partnership, boosted by Tehran’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)in 2002, is as strong geoeconomically and geopolitically as the interlocking partnerships with two other BRICS members, Russia and India. In 2023, Iran is set to become a member of BRICS+.

In parallel, the Iran/Russia/China triad will be deeply involved in the reconstruction of Syria – complete with BRI projects ranging from the Iran-Iraq-Syria-Eastern Mediterranean railway to, in the near future, the Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline, arguably the key factor that provoked the American proxy war against Damascus.

Soleimaniis today revered at the Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad, at the al-Aqsa mosque in Palestine, at the dazzling late baroque Duomo in Ragusa in southeast Sicily, at a stupa high in the Himalayas, or a mural in a street in Caracas.

All across the Global South, there’s a feeling in the air: the new world being born – hopefully, more equal and fair – was somehow dreamed of by the victim of the murder that unleashed the Raging Twenties. 

Pepe Escobar is a Eurasia-wide geopolitical analyst and author. His latest book is Raging Twenties.

(The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)

South Korean Horn’s Expanded Role in Indo-Pacific Strategy

South Korea’s Vows Expanded Regional Role in Indo-Pacific Strategy

Jan 4, 2023 5 min read


Bruce Klingner

Senior Research Fellow, Asian Studies Center

Bruce Klingner specializes in Korean and Japanese affairs as the senior research fellow for Northeast Asia.South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol (R) shakes hands with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris (L) during their meeting on September 29, 2022 in Seoul, South Korea.South Korean Presidential Office / Getty Images


In its first-ever Indo-Pacific strategy, Seoul committed to strengthening a regional rules-based order to protect freedom, democracy, and human rights.

Yoon has clearly aligned South Korea with the United States and other like-minded democracies in opposing China’s coercive tactics to intimidate Asian nations.

Yoon’s actions will need to match his bold statements. The real test will come when Beijing attempts to pressure Seoul.

In its first-ever Indo-Pacific strategy, Seoul committed to strengthening a regional rules-based order to protect freedom, democracy, and human rights. The document expands on President Yoon Suk Yeol’s earlier pledges to assume greater responsibility for defending democratic principles and is consistent with the U.S. and Japanese national security strategies. Seoul emphasized the danger of North Korea’s expanding nuclear and missile arsenal but again refrained from clearly delineating the Chinese threat to the degree that Washington and Tokyo have.

The Yoon administration has clearly staked out a larger and more assertive South Korean posture for combating challenges that threaten a free, peaceful, and prosperous Indo-Pacific. Seoul incorporated economic and societal challenges, along with security threats, into its comprehensive Indo-Pacific strategy. Defining itself as a “Global Pivotal State,” Yoon’s South Korea vowed to bolster its bilateral and minilateral partnerships to further common interests such as maritime security, non-proliferation, counter-terrorism, maritime security, cyber security, and public health.

Seoul declared North Korea as a “serious threat to peace and stability,” not only to South Korea and the Indo-Pacific but globally as well. Yoon’s strategy affirmed the necessity for complete North Korean denuclearization, rejecting calls by some experts to abandon the UN Security Council requirement in favor of partial arms control objectives. South Korea correctly argues for strong international efforts to fully implement required UN sanctions while combating sanctions evasions.

Yoon affirmed his “audacious initiative” approach to Pyongyang, in which extensive economic benefits would be provided to the regime in return for negotiated incremental steps toward denuclearization. The approach, consistent with that of the United States and Japan, dismisses calls for prematurely providing concessions in the vain hope that doing so will induce Pyongyang to resume dialogue.

The document’s references to non-proliferation may be an indirect rebuff to growing South Korean public support for an indigenous nuclear weapons program. The Yoon administration, like its predecessors, rejects the proposal, as well as redeploying U.S. tactical nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula and a nuclear-sharing arrangement, but advocacy for all three options has become more strident in recent months. Advocates point to the escalating North Korean nuclear and missile threat as well as growing uncertainty of the viability of the U.S. extended deterrence guarantee.

Commendably, the Indo-Pacific strategy continues President Yoon’s efforts to improve relations with Japan as a means of enhancing regional cooperation against shared security threats and regional challenges. Yoon seeks a “forward-looking partnership,” despite contentious historic issues and sovereignty disputes that have strained bilateral relations. Highlighting shared values of liberal democracy and human rights, Seoul vowed continued diplomatic efforts to restore trust.

The inauguration of President Yoon brought about a positive sea change in South Korea’s approach to Japan. South Korean-Japanese relations had plummeted when then-President Moon Jae-in withdrew from a bilateral agreement to “finally and irreversibly” resolve the comfort women agreement (a euphemism for South Korean women forced into sexual slavery during the Japanese 1910-45 occupation), threatened to abrogate a bilateral military intelligence sharing agreement, and abstained from resolving other disputed issues.

Under Yoon, the two countries have resumed bilateral diplomatic efforts to improve relations as well as restored trilateral military exercises with the United States after a five-year hiatus. The Yoon Indo-Pacific strategy emphasized that trilateral cooperation is essential to address not only the North Korea threat but also supply chain disruptions, cyber-security, climate change, health crisis, and other emerging regional and global issues.

The strategy’s discussion of the extensive Chinese threats to the region is both encouraging and disappointing. In its pages and in other comments, Yoon has clearly aligned South Korea with the United States and other like-minded democracies in opposing China’s coercive tactics to intimidate Asian nations.

The Yoon administration has adopted a more coordinated, multilateral approach toward regional threats and challenges than his predecessor. By not being overly fixated on improving relations with North Korea, President Yoon will be less beholden to China. South Korea will likely adopt a firmer approach toward countering Chinese actions and no longer preemptively self-limit its policies out of concern for potential reactions by Beijing.

Yoon has pledged to implement a principled, values-based foreign policy that would not acquiesce to Chinese and North Korean threats nor subjugate South Korean national security interests. Yoon emphasized that a strengthened “comprehensive strategic alliance” with the United States would form the foundation for Seoul’s outreach to Beijing and Pyongyang.

But Yoon’s Indo-Pacific strategy only blandly describes a “combination of challenges,” including rising uncertainties in the security environment, democratic backsliding, and geopolitical competition. Despite escalating global concerns about the impact of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine on China’s ambitions to subjugate Taiwan, there was only muted discussion. There was only a singular mention of Taiwan in the context of reaffirming the “importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait” and criticism of Moscow was restrained.

The only direct mention of China is in positive terms as a “key partner for achieving prosperity and peace in the Indo-Pacific region.” The document advises that Seoul will seek to nurture a more mature relationship based on mutual respect and reciprocity.”

Through successive administrations, South Korea pursued a risk-averse hedging policy in which it balanced its relations with its security guarantor (the United States) and its largest trading partner (China). South Korean officials privately commented that Seoul’s “heart was in Washington, but its wallet was in Beijing.” South Korea was fearful of triggering Chinese economic retaliation as Beijing had done against Japan, South Korea, Australia, and Taiwan.

Criticizing Chinese actions but not identifying Beijing as the culprit is consistent with recent U.S.-South Korean joint presidential statements under both the Moon and Yoon administrations. By contrast, the U.S.-Japan joint statements of 2021 and 2022 more assertively and directly criticize China for its transgressions. Similarly, Japan’s national security strategy released in mid-December more boldly censured China.

Seoul indicated that subsequent ministry documents will provide more detailed implementation plans for the new Indo-Pacific strategy. In doing so, the Yoon administration should more clearly delineate measures to confront and combat aggressive Chinese policies in southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands.

Yoon’s Indo-Pacific strategy commendably vows to reinforce South Korean efforts to enhance regional maritime security and maritime domain awareness while building a mechanism for multilateral security cooperation through the East Asia Summit.

As South Korea works toward assuming a larger regional security role, the good news is that it will be building on an existing foundation. The South Korean military has been involved in regional security relationships, capacity-building efforts, and military exercises, though at low levels, particularly when compared with other regional militaries.

Since his inauguration, Yoon Suk Yeol has energized U.S.–South Korean relations and generated optimism amongst U.S. officials and Korea watchers that Seoul will adopt a pragmatic, principled approach toward authoritarian regimes. Yoon appears likely to take greater steps than his predecessors to expand South Korea’s role in the Indo–Pacific region and counter Chinese attempts to coerce Southeast Asian and Pacific Island nations.

But Yoon will likely do so in a low-key manner not depicting these steps as “anti-China” and making it difficult to discern whether his policies are truly different from his predecessors. Yoon’s actions will need to match his bold statements. The real test will come when Beijing attempts to pressure Seoul into acquiescing to Chinese demands. But the recently released Indo-Pacific strategy is another positive step forward for South Korea to assume a more influential and pivotal role commensurate with its diplomatic, security, and economic strengths

2023 is the final nail in the Iran-Obama nuclear deal coffin

Will 2023 put the final nail in the Iran nuclear deal coffin?

January 08, 2023 06:00 AM

Four months ago, it looked like the United States, its partners in the P5+1, and Iran had an agreement: Tehran would come back into compliance with its nuclear obligations under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran nuclear deal). In return, the West would remove sanctions on the Iranian energy and banking sectors.

Unfortunately, things have since fallen apart. 2023 could turn out to be the year when the entire diplomatic enterprise collapses.

One major problem is that the Iranians have adopted an extremely unhelpful, if not intransigent, negotiating strategy. In addition to the usual disputes about the pace of potential U.S. sanctions relief and which centrifuges will have to be ripped up, Tehran is sticking with a bottom-line demand Washington and its allies in Europe are unprepared to accede to: that the yearslong IAEA investigation into Iran’s past nuclear activity is permanently shut down as part of a renewed nuclear deal. Despite repeated trips by the IAEA to Tehran for discussions, there doesn’t appear to be progress on resolving the main sticking points.

Meanwhile, the Iranians continue to increase their leverage by producing higher-enrichment purity uranium, operating more advanced centrifuges, and increasing their total uranium stockpile. The IAEA’s monitoring regime is now strictly limited, courtesy of Tehran’s decision last year to remove some of the cameras in retaliation for the IAEA Board’s censure. “[T]he Agency has not been able to perform JCPOA verification and monitoring activities in relation to the production and inventory of centrifuges, rotors and bellows, heavy water and uranium ore concentrate for almost two years,” the IAEA reported in its latest quarterly assessment.

Tehran’s negotiating position is rubbing off on the Biden administration. President Joe Biden , who campaigned on resurrecting a deal his predecessor killed, admitted in December that the JCPOA is as “dead” as disco. Robert Malley, the U.S. special envoy for Iran and the man with the migraine-inducing task of convincing the Iranians to get to “yes,” also appears to have reached the end of his rope. This week, State Department spokesman Ned Price went as far as to say that nuclear talks are not a priority for the administration and, in fact, “hasn’t been on the agenda for some months now.”

Events have also outpaced the talks themselves. While one would hope the JCPOA negotiations could be insulated from other disputes between the U.S. and Iran, non-nuclear issues are bleeding into the nuclear file.

The Iranian government’s monthslong crackdown on demonstrators, sparked by the heinous death of a woman by the police over a perceived violation of Iran’s conservative dress code, has resulted in the deaths of more than 500 people and the arrests of around 19,000. Iran’s transfer of hundreds of drones to Russia, which Moscow is using to bombard Ukraine, has convinced some experts that sanctions relief would not only worsen Tehran’s behavior but be unjustified on a moral level.

Ultimately, Biden will have to decide whether it’s worth it to press on. As Duke University historian Susan Colbourn wrote in her new book,Euromissiles, Ronald Reagan faced a similar conundrum when the Soviets accidentally shot down a Korean airliner in 1983, killing everyone on board. Some of his advisers, such as Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, recommended he pull out of arms control talks with Moscow as a sign of protest. Reagan didn’t take Weinberger’s advice, arguing that arms control was too important to abandon.

Iran’s power in 2023, of course, doesn’t come remotely close to what an even dying Soviet Union possessed in the early 80s. But it will nonetheless be interesting to see if Biden eventually comes to a similar conclusion.

Daniel DePetris (@DanDePetris) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. His opinions are his own.

North Jersey region active for the Sixth Seal: Revelation 6

A seismograph.

North Jersey region among ‘most active’ earthquake zones

Northern New Jersey, which straddles a significant ancient crack in the Earth’s crust known as the Ramapo Fault, recorded 16 earthquakes last year, an unusually high number for the area. 

It had been relatively quiet this year, until geologists recorded a 1.3 magnitude quake last weekend in Morris Plains, and then a 1.0 magnitude quake Saturday in Morristown.

Last weekend’s tremor was reported by Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Observatory to the Morris Plains Police Department, which issued an advisory to residents on Monday morning.

Lamont-Doherty spokesman Kevin Krajick said the quake was pinpointed to a shallow depth of 6 kilometers just north of Grannis Avenue, between Mountain and Sun Valley ways, about 500 feet southeast of Mountain way School.

“It was a very small earthquake at a very shallow depth,” Krajick said. “Most people would not feel an earthquake that small unless they were absolutely right under it, if that.”

“To date (there) were no reported injuries or damage related to the earthquake and no Morris Plains residents reported any activity to this agency,” according to Morris Plains police Chief Jason Kohn.

On the other hand, Butler Police Lt. Mike Moeller said his department received “a bunch of calls about it, between 9:30 and 10:30 p.m.”

Saturday’s earthquake was so minor that Morristown police said they received no calls from residents.

Earthquakes are generally less frequent and less intense in the Northeast compared to the U.S. Pacific Coast, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. But due to geological differences between the regions, earthquakes of similar magnitude affect an area 10 times larger in the Northeast compared to the West Coast.

The 16 tremors recorded in 2016 were minor, generally 1 or 2 magnitude, often misinterpreted as explosions, said Alexander Gates, geology professor at Rutgers University Newark campus. 

 “A lot of people in Butler felt them over the course of the last year, but a lot of them didn’t know it was an earthquake,” Gates said.

Butler is the borough, but also the name of the fault that sits at the end of a series of others belonging to the Ramapo Fault, Gates said.

The Ramapo fault, Gates said, is the longest in the Northeast and runs from Pennnsylvania through New Jersey, snaking northeast through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic, and Bergen counties before coming to an end in New York’s Westchester County, not far from the Indian Point Energy Center, a nuclear power plant.

The small area, Gates said, is considered the most seismically active region east of the Mississippi based on data gathered since 1974, when seismographs were installed.

“I’d be willing to bet that you’d have to go all the way to Canada and all the way to South Carolina before you’d get one that active,” Gates said of the area which runs from the New York state line in the Ringwood and Mahwah area down to Butler and central Passaic County, Gates said.

Of last year’s 16 earthquakes, 12 were directly associated with the faults around Butler, Gates said.

Butler Councilman Ray Verdonik said area residents are well aware of the frequency of earthquakes and agrees they are often difficult to discern. 

During one earthquake, the councilman said he and his neighbors rushed from their homes.

“We thought it was from Picatinny Arsenal or a sonic boom.” he said. 

Won-Young Kim, director of the  Lamont-Doherty Cooperative Seismographic Network, which  monitors earthquakes in the Northeast, said often very shallow, the low magnitude quakes’ waves cause much ground motion. He said even though the waves don’t travel very far, they can seem more intense than the magnitude suggests. 

They may not topple chimneys, he said but can crack foundations and frighten residents.

To put earthquake magnitudes in perspective, experts said each year there are about 900,000 earthquakes of 2.5 magnitude or less recorded annually by seismograph. These mild tremors are usually not felt.

There are 30,000 that measure between 2.5 and 5.4, and these are often felt, but cause minor damage.

About 500 quakes worldwide are recorded between 5.5 and 6 magnitude per year and cause slight damage to buildings and structures. 

The 100 that fall within 6.1 and 6.9 may cause lots of damage in populated areas.

The 20 or so which fall within the 7 and 7.9 magnitude per year are considered major and cause serious damage.

Those that measure at 8 or greater can totally destroy communities near the epicenter and average one every five to 10 years.

The earthquake recorded in Mexico last week measured 7.1 magnitude.  

Gates said he has identified most of the region’s numerous faults, but has yet to name them all. Among the unnamed include the faults responsible for last year’s quakes in the region.

Earthquakes in this region are intraplate ones, Gates said, meaning they occur within the plates. Earthquakes of this type account for more than 90 percent of the total seismic energy released around the world.

Plates are the masses of the earth’s crust that slowly move, maybe as little as a few centimeters a year to as much 18 centimeters, around the globe. Faults such as the San Andreas are interplate and occur near where two plates meet.

The plate North America rides upon runs from the Mid Atlantic Ridge to the Pacific Coast. The theory is that as plates interact with one another, they create stress within the plate. Faults occur where the crust is weak, Gates said. Earthquakes relieve the built up pressure. 

Boston College Geophysics Professor John Ebel said he and a Virginia Tech colleague, believe the seismically active areas in New York and South Carolina are where some 200 million years ago, the plates tried to break off but failed. This led to a weakening of the earth’s crust which makes them susceptible to quakes.

While not predictable, the data collected seem to suggest earthquakes occur somewhat periodically, 40 active years followed by 40 less active, Gates said. 

“We are over due for a 3 or 4” magnitude, Gates said. “A 4 you’d feel. It would shake the area. Everybody would be upset.” 

Ebel does not fully agree. He said saying “overdue” might be somewhat misleading.  Earthquakes happen through a slow process of rising stress, “like dropping individual grains of sand on the table.” 

You never know which grain will cause the table to break, he said. 

Still all three experts say statistically it is only a matter time before a magnitude 5 quake is recorded in the northern New Jersey area. 

The scientists said quakes in the Northeastern part of the United States tend to come 100 years apart and the last one was recorded in 1884 believed to be centered south of Brooklyn. It toppled chimneys and moved houses from their foundations across the city and as far as Rahway. 

Washington D.C. experienced a 5.8 magnitude quake in 2011, which was felt in the Northeast, Gates said. That quake cracked the Washington Monument.

A similar quake was recorded in 1737 in Weehawken, Gates noted. 

“Imagine putting a 5.5 magnitude earthquake in Weehawken, New Jersey next to the Bridge, next to the tunnel,” Gates said. “Boy that would be a dangerous one.”  

In 2008 Columbia University’s The Earth Institute posted an article titled: “Earthquakes May Endanger New York More Than Thought, Says Study.”

“Today, with so many more buildings and people, a magnitude 5 centered below the city would be extremely attention-getting,” the article’s co-author John Armbruster wrote. “We’d see billions in damage, with some brick buildings falling.”

The threat though, is not tangible to many, Armbruster wrote. 

“There is no one now alive to remember that last one, so people tend to forget. And having only a partial 300-year history, we may not have seen everything we could see. There could be surprises — things bigger than we have ever seen,” Armbruster wrote.

The Earth Institute’s article did note New York City added earthquake-resistant building codes in 1995.

New Jersey also began to require earthquake-resistant standards in the 1990s. The state, following the 2011 Virginia quake, now requires lake communities to make dams able to withstand a magnitude 5 earthquake.

The issue, Gates said, is that many of the buildings were built before these codes went into effect. A “sizable” earthquake could cause much damage.

Then there’s the prediction that every 3,400 years this area can expect a quake at 7 magnitude.

According to the Earth Institute article, a  2001 analysis for Bergen County estimates a magnitude 7 quake would destroy 14,000 buildings and damage 180,000 in that area alone.  Likewise, in New York City the damage could easily hit hundreds of billions of dollars. 

Ebel noted that depending on the depth and power of a severe quake, damage could be also be wide ranging. In 2011, Washington D.C., 90 miles away from the epicenter, which was located in central Virginia, suffered significant damage.  Cities like Philadelphia fall within that radius.

“The big one could happen tomorrow or 100 years from now. That’s the problem,” Gates said. It geological terms 100 years is just a spit in the ocean, he noted.

Then again North Jersey is more likely to be hit by hurricane in the next three years, Gates added. 


Staff Writer William Westhoven contributed to this report. 

New Jersey’s top earthquakes

  • Dec. 19, 1737 — Weehawken, believed to be a 5-plus magnitude quake, could be very serious if occurred in same spot today.
  • Nov. 29, 1783 — Western New Jersey. Geologists are not exactly sure where it happened because area was sparsely populated. Estimated magnitude varies from 4.8 to 5.3. Felt from Pennsylvania to New England. 
  • Aug. 10, 1884 — A 5.2 earthquake occurred somewhere near Jamaica Bay near Brooklyn. The quake toppled chimneys and moved houses off their foundations as far Rahway. 
  • The biggest earthquake in the last 45 years of data available form USGS was a 3.8 quake centered in Carneys Point in Salem County on the morning of Feb.28, 1973
  • New Jersey has never recorded a fatality due to an earthquake, according to the DEP.

Predicting the Sixth Seal Earthquake: Revelation 6

Predicting the Earthquake That Could Wreck New York

A geologist heads to the hills to study precariously perched boulders, which could provide clues to the frequency of the rare major quakes that shake the region.

By Ben McGrathNovember 28, 2022

A geologist taking measurements by a boulder.

Every now and then, the ground trembles, in some places more often and more dramatically than in others. New York is no California. Still, Brooklyn chimneys toppled and windows shattered in the summer of 1884, when a quake struck near Coney Island: magnitude 5, or thereabouts. (Seismometers were not then in wide circulation.) Anything larger, amid today’s infrastructure, would cause quite a bit of damage. But we have scant records about how frequently such a quake occurs. “Every thousand years, every ten thousand years, every million years?,” William Menke, a seismologist at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty observatory, wondered recently, with the potential destruction of the metropolitan region in mind. “It makes a difference!” Many major earthquakes have occurred on the East Coast, he explained. We just don’t know when.

Menke was hiking up a mountain in Harriman State Park, beside the Ramapo Fault, to try to fill in the gaps. He was in search of rocks whose shape and placement gave him a sense of existential comfort instead of dread. “That was the one that started me thinking about this,” he said, arriving at a bobsled-size boulder perched near the edge of a shallow cliff. “That must say something important about the amount of shaking that occurred since it was put up there. If there was a lot of shaking, it would have fallen.” A hiking companion couldn’t resist a futile push. The boulder was deposited there, of course, by a glacier. “Everything here reeks of the Ice Age,” Menke said. The last of the glaciers melted in these parts around fifteen thousand years ago. Auspicious.

The two continued climbing, in search of ever more precariously perched boulders. Some were too small to rule out human intervention. “You can see somebody moved those hefty rocks into a bench configuration,” Menke noted of one arrangement, near the remains of a campfire. Another boulder, intriguingly top-heavy, sat in a crack, making it harder to dislodge, and therefore unworthy of scrutiny. Menke crouched beside others to sketch their contours in a notebook and measure the slopes of the underlying bedrock, using a carpenter’s level and an inclinometer, for which he’d paid eight dollars at Lowe’s. “Most of the stuff I do is pretty low tech,” he said. “I have occasionally lost things in the field and then found them six months later, a little rusty.”

It’s made from one hundred per cent dinosaur-based petroleum products.”Cartoon by P. C. Vey

Menke’s gray hair was untrimmed and, like some of the stones he examined, in seeming defiance of gravity. His fixation on the geology was such that he failed to notice a buck galloping past, though he called attention to a small discoloration in the bedrock at one point. “See the surface here? Something was protecting this from erosion. Was there a boulder there that rolled off? Where is it?” Using some back-of-the-envelope physics, he estimated the amount of gravitational acceleration required to send various candidates in his notebook sliding downhill. “The last one we did was on a more gentle slope, and it was about point three of gravity,” he said. “So that would be about a seven-and-a-half magnitude.” By contrast, a giant sea-turtle-shaped rock on a steeper slope seemed likely to ski with a magnitude 7. “So that, actually, is an interesting number,” Menke said. “If you can rule out that there have been any earthquakes of magnitude 7 since the end of the Ice Age, that actually is pretty important in terms of New York’s seismic risk.”

Proper science would require his following up with sophisticated camera technology, for photogrammetry and 3-D computer modelling. “I’ll tell you a funny story about a Greek dude,” Menke said, referring to the astronomer Aristarchus, who attempted to estimate the distance from the earth to the sun. “He did a pretty good job, but there was a critical piece of info he needed to know, and that was the angular diameter of the sun. It’s half a degree, and he guessed that it was two degrees. Had he been careful to measure things, he would have gotten the right number.” For now, though, Menke took comfort in what the naked eye was telling him. Then again, a magnitude 7 earthquake is a thousand times more powerful than a magnitude 5. Think of Haiti in 2010, instead of Coney Island in 1884.

Pausing for a water break before beginning his descent, Menke ran his hand over another boulder and broke off a piece of crusty rock tripe, or lichen. “Very low nutritional value,” he said. “But if faced with a choice between eating rock tripe and dying, you eat rock tripe.” ♦

Nuclear War Cometh: Revelation 8

Invasion of Ukraine revives nuclear warfare nightmare

By Cecile Feuillatre

“With Moscow on the back foot in its offensive, the military stalemate has raised fears Russia could resort to its nuclear arsenal to achieve a breakthrough”

Banished from public consciousness for decades, the nightmare of nuclear warfare has surged back to prominence with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, highlighting the erosion of the Cold War global security architecture.

With Moscow on the back foot in its offensive, the military stalemate has raised fears Russia could resort to its nuclear arsenal to achieve a breakthrough.

Russia, along with Britain, China, France and the United States, are the five recognized nuclear weapons powers and permanent UN Security Council members.

“It’s the first time a nuclear power has used its status to wage a conventional war under the shadow cast by nuclear weapons,” said Camille Grand, a former NATO deputy secretary-general.

“One might have imagined that rogue states would adopt such an attitude, but suddenly it’s one of the two major nuclear powers, a member of the UN Security Council,” he told AFP, insisting the actual use of the weapons remains “improbable.”

For now, the moral and strategic nuclear “taboo” that emerged after the US bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II in 1945 still holds.

But rhetoric has escalated massively.

Russian TV broadcasts since the invasion of Ukraine have repeatedly discussed nuclear strikes on Western cities like Paris or New York.

One former Russian diplomat, asking not to be named, warned that if President Vladimir Putin felt Russia’s existence threatened, “he will press the button.”

The year’s events have been a harsh wake-up call for Europe, which spent decades in a state of relative ease in terms of nuclear security, enjoying the so-called Cold War “peace dividend.”

Across the Atlantic, US President Joe Biden warned in October of a potential “Armageddon” hanging over the world.

‘Disarmament ‘in ruins’

“The most spectacular event of the past half century is one that did not occur,” Nobel-winning economist and strategy expert Thomas Schelling wrote in 2007.

But the framework that kept world leaders’ fingers off the button after 1945 had been crumbling for years before Putin’s order to invade.

In 2002, the United States quit the critical Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty it had signed with the Soviet Union in 1972, which maintained the nuclear balance of power.

Other important agreements fell away in the years that followed, including the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that Washington dropped in 2019, blaming Russia for not complying.

“Regarding disarmament, it’s all in ruins, apart from New Start,” Grand said, referring to the Barack Obama-era agreement with Russia to reduce numbers of warheads, missiles, bombers and launchers.

‘Very dangerous crisis’

India, North Korea and Pakistan, along with the five recognized powers, also have nuclear weapons, while Israel is widely assumed to do so while having never officially acknowledged it.

North Korea sharply stepped up missile testing this year, continuing its pursuit of an independent nuclear deterrent that began when it quit the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003.

Washington, Seoul and Tokyo all believe a seventh nuclear weapons test by Pyongyang is imminent.

The isolated dictatorship announced in September a new nuclear doctrine, making clear that it would never give up the weapons and that they could be used pre-emptively.

“We’re going to see a very dangerous crisis in Asia,” Chung Min Lee, a researcher at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, recently told a Paris conference.

Non-nuclear countries in the region fear that the protection provided by the US nuclear umbrella is fraying.

“If you imagine extended deterrence as a water balloon, today the water balloon has some critical holes and water is seeping out,” he added.

China’s nuclear arsenal is also growing, with Pentagon estimates putting it at 1,000 warheads — roughly on par with US bombs – within a decade.

And in the Middle East, the struggle to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, hobbled by its brutal repression of recent protests at home, has revived fears that Tehran could soon be a “threshold state” on the brink of building a bomb.