Power Play

The future of the Indian Point nuclear plant in Westchester County will be decided in the near term. The license for one of the generators is due to expire next year, and the other generator’s license is up in three years. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has made it clear that he wants the plant, which generates nearly a quarter of the city’s electricity, to close.

O.K.—and then what?

Any decision about the plant’s future has to be based on facts, not ideology or politics. And if Mr. Cuomo decides, after careful review of the facts, to make good on his promise to close the plant, he had better have a realistic, practical and environmentally friendly alternative. If he doesn’t, well, he’ll be putting politics and pandering ahead of the power needs of millions of households and businesses.

A recent report on the city’s power grid warned of severe shortages if Indian Point and its daily output of 2,000 megawatts go off-line. In the past, Mr. Cuomo has expressed confidence that replacing Indian Point’s output will not be hard. “There’s no doubt that we can find” alternative generation, the governor said a year ago.

Well, the clock is ticking on one of Indian Point’s licenses, and if there is an alternative plan under consideration, it is remarkably well-hidden. Mr. Cuomo will have to forgive New Yorkers who don’t share his belief that replacing Indian Point will be so easy.

If the plant’s operator is not granted a new 20-year license in 2013—which, by the way, starts in a matter of months—half of Indian Point’s generating power will disappear.

Once again, a simple question: And then what?