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Plan for Dumping Nuclear Wastewater Into Hudson River Is Paused

New York Times, By Patrick McGeehan, April 14, 2023

Wastewater from the shuttered Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York will not be dumped into the Hudson River next month as planned, the company that owns the plant said.

The owner, Holtec International, said on Thursday that it would take more time to explain its plan to elected officials and community leaders who have become alarmed about potential harmful effects on the environment.

A Holtec spokesman, Patrick O’Brien, said the company would take a “voluntary pause” in its scheduled release of water from the pools that contained spent fuel rods from Indian Point’s reactors, which stopped generating electricity in 2021.

Why It Matters: Area Residents Feared Contamination of Drinking Water

Releasing water from the spent-fuel pools into the Hudson had always been part of Holtec’s plan for dismantling Indian Point, in Buchanan, N.Y. But a recent notice from the company that it might speed up the process alarmed some environmental activists, who oppose discharging the wastewater because it contains tritium, a radioactive element.

Riverkeeper, an organization that advocates for clean water in New York, opposed the plan, saying: “Ingestion of tritium is linked to cancer, and children and pregnant women are most vulnerable.” Riverkeeper called for the wastewater to be stored in tanks on the site until a safer method of disposal could be devised.

In an April 6 letter to the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, New York’s Democratic senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, said that Holtec’s “sudden” announcement had “shocked the community” and would increase public opposition and distrust of Holtec as it continues the decommissioning of Indian Point.

On Thursday, Mr. Schumer said in a statement that he was “relieved that Holtec has heeded our call and will put a stop to its hastily hatched plan to dump radioactive wastewater into the Hudson this May.”

………………………………………… Holtec tried to assure community leaders that the safest way to dispose of the wastewater was to put it in the river. But elected officials proposed legislation in Albany that would ban the “discharge of any radiological agent into the waters of the state.”

What’s Next

Holtec has not abandoned its plan to discharge the wastewater. Mr. O’Brien said the company hoped to “further engage” with elected officials and state agencies and that regulators would gain “time to continue explaining the science and regulations” at public meetings. The Indian Point Decommissioning Oversight Board has scheduled a special online meeting for public comment on April 25.


April 16, 2023 - Posted by | USA, water

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