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LANDMARK AGREEMENT: January 9, 2017
History in the making! Riverkeeper, New York State, and Entergy have signed a landmark agreement to close Indian Point Energy Center by 2021.
“This agreement provides what we’ve been fighting for for decades: a definite early closing date for Indian Point — our biggest existential threat in the region. It’s a win for the safety of our communities, a win for the Hudson River and all the rich variety of life within it, and a win for a clean, sustainable energy future. Riverkeeper is thrilled that the Governor stepped up to get this deal done — just like he promised he would.”
– Paul Gallay, President and Hudson Riverkeeper
Under the agreement, the two aging nuclear reactors at Indian Point will shut down in 2020 and 2021, respectively. These dates are very likely sooner than what could have been achieved through litigation, which could have dragged on much longer, with no guarantee of success. The agreement also cuts 14 years off the closing date requested by Entergy. Riverkeeper was party to the agreement on behalf of its partners, which include Scenic Hudson.
Although a new power plant’s initial operating license depends on consideration of many factors, including population density around the plant and the assurance that evacuation plans can be effectively implemented in the case of a radiological emergency, the NRC’s review for relicensing does not examine these public safety issues.
In fact, the license renewal process is limited, focusing on environmental effects, such as endangered species, the effects of cooling water systems on fish and ground water quality; and, physical plant safety, such as the long term maintenance of coolant system piping or steam generators, as well as motors, diesel generators, and batteries.
Every exposure to radiation poses health risks, including programmed cell death, genetic mutations, cancers, leukemia, birth defects, and reproductive, immune and endocrine system disorders. While government regulations allow “permissible” levels of contamination, there are no safe levels of exposure. And yet, exposure occurs constantly, since radiation is released regularly from Indian Point in the form of liquid, gaseous, and solid radioactive wastes.
Despite ongoing safety problems at Indian Point, Entergy, its owner, is seeking a 20-year license extension for both reactors. On April 26th, 2007, former Governor Eliot Spitzer asked the NRC to conduct an Independent Safety Assessment (ISA) at the Indian Point nuclear power plant. He received support from some of New York’s top Congressional delegates, who introduced legislation requiring an in-depth review of Indian Point’s vital safety and mechanical systems, spent fuel pools, and radiological emergency evacuation plans.
Despite advertisements depicting nuclear energy as a “clean energy source,” the life cycle of generating nuclear power – from mining to refining to transportation to storage – requires a tremendous amount of energy. And, while some tout nuclear energy as the solution to the global energy crisis, it actually accounts for only 2.5 percent of the world’s electricity needs.
Indian Point’s nuclear power is neither clean nor green, and the process needed to create fuel from uranium for its reactors is energy-intensive and creates greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. Riverkeeper supports New York State’s plan for reliable, sustainable power sources. The investment in truly clean and green energy production such as wind, solar, and biofuels, and offering incentives to encourage Smart Energy use by consumers would drastically reduce our contributions to global warming and reduce our dependency on nuclear power. Learn More