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Why Closing a Nuclear Plant Could Hurt N.Y.’s Environment

Weather: Some clouds, becoming sunnier in the afternoon with temperatures reaching the low 60s.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until April 29 (Holy Thursday, Orthodox).

The nuclear plant known as Indian Point will close for good on April 30, fulfilling a long-held priority of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

But closing the plant could create a new ecological problem: Without the electricity it produces, more of the state’s power will come from natural gas plants, which emit pollution that contributes to climate change.

[Indian Point is shutting down. That means more fossil fuel.]

The possible spike in emissions seems to fly in the face of the Cuomo administration’s push to have much of the state’s energy produced by renewable sources by 2030.

Here’s what you need to know:

Indian Point is on the east bank of the Hudson River, just 25 miles away from New York City.

The plant has been the site of protests and occasional scary incidents, including a 2015 fire that knocked out one of its reactors, and some environmental groups have complained about its effect on groundwater and the Hudson.

The growing supply of cheap natural gas and increased prevalence of renewable energy sources have also made comparatively expensive nuclear plants less economically competitive.

When Mr. Cuomo announced four years ago that he would close Indian Point, the plant produced about a quarter of the city’s energy.

Critics say that closing the plant will make meeting sustainability goals more difficult, and there is evidence to support that idea. When one of Indian Point’s two working reactors shut down permanently last summer, the share of the state’s power that came from gas-powered generators increased by several percentage points.

State officials acknowledge that losing Indian Point will be a step in the wrong direction, but say that it will be made up by a leap forward in clean energy sources, like wind and solar.

“Once the large-scale renewable and offshore wind farms are complete, more than half of New York’s electricity will come from renewable sources, putting the state ahead of schedule toward reaching its goal of 70 percent renewable energy by 2030,” Tom Congdon, the chairman of Mr. Cuomo’s Indian Point Task Force, told my colleague Patrick McGeehan.

But those projects will take years to complete, and in the meantime the state is likely to have to use more gas-burning plants to meet its energy needs.

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On the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 150th anniversary one year ago today, New York City was locked down, and the museum’s collection was only available online.

The Met is now open to visitors, but at least part of the celebration for its 151st anniversary is online: A Google Doodle by the artist Erich Nagler.

The Doodle, a fanciful rendering that uses rotating works from the Met’s collection of more than 1.5 million pieces as letters to spell the name “Google,” went live on the search engine’s home page in the United States at midnight and will stay there for 24 hours.

The artworks float above a drawing of the Met, with lines pointing to the section of the museum where visitors can find them.

Mr. Nagler said that his goal for the Doodle was to try and recreate the feeling of visiting the museum.

“The looping animation shows where the artworks are located inside the museum,” Mr. Nagler said. “This captures the serendipity and surprise of wandering the galleries and discovering these beautiful masterpieces.”

Max Hollein, the Met’s director, told me in an interview that during the pandemic, engagement with the museum online grew precipitously — there has been 76.5 percent more…

Read More: Why Closing a Nuclear Plant Could Hurt N.Y.’s Environment

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