President Paul Stein opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance (attendance 113).
Bob Smith read the minutes. Guests Ivan Burns and Jeff Milliken. Jerry Transue, Membership Chairman, reported membership is 467. 2012 dues due by end of January.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: Dick DePatie announced that James Kneubuhl had died, funeral to be 11:00AM, February 4, at the Presbyterian Church and Major Peter Allatt had died, burial to be at Arlington National Cemetery, details to be announced.
ACTIVITIES: Paddle tennis (9-7-7) and bridge as usual. Investment Club on Winter hold. 1/23, 1:30PM, Mystery Book Club at New Canaan Inn. 1/27, 4F's luncheon at the Tuscan. 2/8, 1:30PM, Photo/Computer Club at Lapham. 2/16, Amateur Chef's luncheon.
COUTH: 2/14 (Valentine's Day!), luncheon at Culinary Institute's Italian Restaurant, possibly Indian Power Point side trip, $65/pp (now a waiting list). Note on 9/16-9/22 National Parks trip that $165 travel insurance provides a refund up to departure time.
HUMORIST: Joel Pelzner told of an aging veteran's visit to a women's college where he gained the affections of a young lady because while his war life was full of action, his love life had been without action since 1955! His comeback with her was unbelievable!
SPEAKER: Vice President Nick Yanicelli introduced T. Michael Twomey, Entergy's Vice President of External Affairs, with responsibility for issues associated with the Indian Point Energy Center. With separation of generation from transmission and delivery, Entergy has expanded from nuclear plants in the Southeast to other regions, especially the Northeast. The location of Indian Point near a large population center is not unique. 26 cities and 116 million people are within 50 miles of a nuclear plant. Thus, safety (i.e. risk) has to be a nationwide concern not just a local one. Twomey discussed the confluence of the earth's plates leading to seismic profiles as a risk factor. He noted the concentration of seismic activity in Japan and our west coast (along with their openness to tsunamis). Thus, Indian Point is not susceptible to the same kind of seismic risks as those areas. Even so, a safety margin was built into Indian Point design, the company believing the facility can sustain a 7 Richter reading. Other safety precautions include: constant, rigorous operator training, a safety sensitive culture, commitment to safety investments, and four layers of backup for reactor cooling. 9/11 also generated some additional attention to catastrophic emergencies and responses. New York City's study suggested that taking Indian Point off the grid would cause price increases and air quality degradations. Technological solutions (e.g. solar and wind) are probably 20 years away, with major short term investment, pricing and location issues. Nuclear power is basically a bridge to the future, raising the question of "What about the 20 year cliff on the life of existing nuclear plants?" Substituting current alternatives (e.g. gas and coal) requires a careful analysis of such variables as price volatility, delivery reliability, site location options, and environmental consequences. Any more building of nuclear plants will require utility/regulator partnerships to address the complexities of action. The Q/A covered: cost implications of waste disposal, no recycling of spent fuel (U.S. only), peak load issues for wind and solar power, proper nuclear power role for national government, on-site security precautions, disposition of treatment water, river flow as a power source, and safety compliance roles for employees and on-site independent inspectors.
Don Hudson, Assistant Secretary