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The Truth Behind the Indian Point Ads

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The antiquated once-through cooling water system currently in use at the Indian Point nuclear power plant has been a destructive force on the Hudson River for decades. Massive water withdrawals and discharges kill over a billion aquatic organisms every year. Evidence now indicates that over 40 years of such slaughter and habitat degradation have contributed to the decline of numerous important fish species in the river.

Thankfully, an end to this ongoing assault on the Hudson River ecosystem is in sight. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently denied a critical “water quality certification” to Entergy, the owners of Indian Point, because of the harmful effect the plant has on aquatic life in the river. DEC’s decision indicates that in order to continue operating, Entergy must install a closed-cycle cooling system to alleviate the current impacts.

The not-so surprising response from Entergy? A massive, expensive public relations campaign chock full of misinformation intended to convince the public that complying with the law and doing what is best for the environment is not necessary. Instead of expending resources to finally put an end to the environmental destruction caused by Indian Point, Entergy has illogically chosen to sink hundreds of thousands of dollars into newspaper ads and radio spots to try and justify why it should be allowed to continue to evade responsibility.

Entergy’s PR efforts are distorting the facts and misleading the public. Consumers of the public media deserve to know the whole truth:

Entergy Myth #1: Wedgewire Screens are More Effective than Closed-Cycle Cooling
Entergy is anxious to convince decision-makers that its proposed alternative to a closed-cycle system, wedgewire screens, would be a more effective way to reduce the current impacts to the aquatic ecosystem of the Hudson River. However, all scientific evidence points to the contrary. There is simply no disputing the fact that closed-cycle cooling is a far superior technology that would unequivocally reduce entrainment and impingement impacts to the Hudson River ecology caused by Indian Point by 93 to 98%. Despite self-serving, distorted estimates conjured up by Entergy suggesting otherwise, it is clear that wedgewire screens would not reduce entrainment and impingement to any level even approaching that which closed-cycle cooling could achieve. In fact, it is highly questionable whether screen slot size could be small enough to reduce entrainment at any effective level while still allowing Indian Point to withdraw a massive 2.5 billion gallons of water per day. Additionally, unlike a closed-cycle system, screens would do absolutely nothing to abate Indian Point’s current harsh thermal impacts to the river.

Entergy Myth #2: Cooling Towers Would be Inordinately Large
Entergy consistently tries to scare the public by overstating the potential visual impact of cooling towers necessary to implement a closed-cycle system at Indian Point. While Entergy always points to the potential size of one specific type of cooling tower, in reality, there are a range of solutions currently being reviewed, several of which would leave a much smaller visual impact. In fact, DEC itself is proposing such alternative, smaller towers. Entergy’s panic stricken claims that cooling towers would be massively large are simply unfounded.

Entergy Myth #3: Cooling Towers Would Take 15+ Years to Permit and Build
Entergy’s claims that cooling towers would take at least 15 years to permit and build are incredibly exaggerated. In any event, Entergy utterly fails to acknowledge its own role in the delays. The owners of Indian Point have consistently refused to comply with directives to install a closed-cycle system since the 1970s. Since Entergy assumed ownership of the plant, this resistance has continued, with no end in sight. To vigorously oppose and hold up the permit proceeding, and then complain that cooling towers would take too long, is completely disingenuous.
Entergy’s recent advertisements tout, “Isn’t it obvious?” Yes, Riverkeeper couldn’t agree more: It’s obvious that Entergy is desperate to avoid its legal and environmental obligations to end the devastation caused by Indian Point at any cost. It’s obvious that this desperation has driven Entergy to launch a PR campaign based on misinformation and fear-mongering, to distract the public from the truth. And, it’s obvious that when you separate the facts from Entergy’s propaganda machine, you will find that closed-cycle cooling is clearly the best solution to the ongoing degradation of the ecology of the Hudson River.

Don’t allow Entergy to wage a one-sided war on a captive reading/listening audience. Share this article, and spread the truth!

For more information, check out the following:
Riverkeeper’s Comments on Entergy’s Application for Water Quality Certification

DEC’s denial of Entergy’s Application for Water Quality Certification

The Truth About Closed-Cycle Cooling

Power Plants Kill Fish – an interactive presentation

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