News > News > Stop Polluters > Power Plant Cases > Riverkeeper Challenges NRC’s Findings on the Environmental Impacts of Indian Point

Riverkeeper Challenges NRC’s Findings on the Environmental Impacts of Indian Point

For Immediate Release: March 18, 2009
Contact: Andrea Kott, Riverkeeper
914-478-4501 x 239, [email protected]
Phillip Musegass, Riverkeeper
914-478-4501 x224, [email protected]

Riverkeeper Challenges NRC’s Findings on the Environmental Impacts of Indian Point

Agency’s draft study ignores critical data and new information on a range of impacts, from toxic nuclear waste storage to the slaughter of Hudson River fish

Today, Riverkeeper filed written comments with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), challenging its assessment and conclusion that environmental impacts caused by Indian Point’s operation are not severe enough to prevent relicensing of the plant for 20 more years. The commission’s conclusion appeared in its December 2008 draft environmental analysis.

Riverkeeper’s comments noted the wide range of severe impacts caused by the aging nuclear plant, but focused on the slaughter of Hudson River fish populations caused by Indian Point’s cooling water intakes and the NRC’s refusal to consider the risk of storing thousands of tons of nuclear waste at the plant indefinitely, without any environmental review.

“It is no surprise that the NRC, despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary, claims that Indian Point’s effect on the environment is not significant enough to prevent relicensing”, said Phillip Musegaas, Hudson River Program Director for Riverkeeper. “This is the same agency that, just last week, gave Indian Point its highest safety rating for 2008, a year in which radioactive waste continued leaking into the Hudson River, and Entergy (Indian Point’s owner) was in violation of federal law for failing to complete its new emergency siren system on time. These actions make it clear that the NRC is more focused on being the national “Chamber of Commerce for Nuclear Power” and less on protecting public health and safety, as their legal mandate requires.”
Riverkeeper’s comments specifically challenge the NRC’s analysis of, or refusal to assess, the following current and future impacts.

The slaughter of over a billion Hudson River fish, eggs and larvae every year by Indian Point’s antiquated, once-through cooling system, which sucks in 2.5 billion gallons of Hudson River water a day, contributing to the decline of Hudson River fish populations.

The killing of endangered shortnose sturgeon and declining Atlantic sturgeon, when they are trapped and pinned against the plant’s cooling water intake screens in the Hudson River.

The risks and future environmental impacts of the storage of 1,500 tons of highly toxic nuclear waste in leaking spent fuel pools and dry casks, which will remain onsite for the foreseeable future, due to the failure of the federal government to approve the Yucca Mountain waste repository. If Indian Point is relicensed, another 1,000 tons of waste will be produced, with no disposal solution.

The feasibility of the emergency evacuation plan and the potential impacts to the Hudson valley from a radiological release at Indian Point caused by an accident or terrorist attack.

The impacts of the leaking IP2 spent fuel pool, and any future radioactive leaks, on the Hudson River ecosystem.

The risk to public drinking water supplies posed by the plant’s radioactive water leaks and periodic discharges, if a proposed desalination plant is built in Haverstraw, which will use Hudson River water.

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