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Riverkeeper Urges DEC to Deny Water Quality Certificate For Indian Point


Tina Posterli, 914-478-4501 x 239


Tarrytown, NY – March 25, 2010 – Riverkeeper submitted comments today urging the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to deny a request made by Entergy, the owner of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, for a Water Quality Certification in connection with their efforts to obtain a license extension to operate for an additional 20 years. Before a license extension can go forward, the federal Clean Water Act requires that DEC issue this certification, attesting that continued operation would be consistent with all State water quality standards.

Entergy’s unfailing refusal to upgrade Indian Point’s antiquated “once-through” cooling water system has resulted in severe harm to the aquatic ecology and recreational enjoyment of the Hudson River, said Alex Matthiessen, Hudson Riverkeeper & President. “If relicensed, Indian Point would continue to cause immeasurable damage to the river and surrounding environment. Denying Water Quality Certification is the only appropriate choice.”

The most egregious violations of water quality standards raised in Riverkeeper’s comments are related to Entergy’s continued use of an antiquated cooling water system and radioactive leaks from the plant which have caused extensive groundwater contamination.

Entergy’s outdated cooling water system withdraws and discharges back approximately 2.5 billion gallons of river water per day, slaughtering hundreds of millions of fish every year due to entrainment, impingement, and heat related impacts. Decades of such massive water withdrawals has contributed to the decline of many signature Hudson River fish species. Riverkeeper’s landmark study from 2008 called the “Pisces Report,” found that 10 out of 13 key species in the river are in peril, due, in part, to the enormous impact of Indian Point. Entergy’s desire to continue operating this way for two additional decades would cause ongoing habitat degradation, exacerbation of fish decline in the river, as well as interference with the ability to recreationally fish the river, all in clear violation of New York State water quality standards.

Indian Point also violates New York State water quality standards for groundwater. Leaks from Indian Point’s spent fuel pools have led to massive plumes of toxic radioactive contamination in the groundwater, which slowly migrates to the Hudson River. The levels of this contamination have routinely exceeded drinking water limits established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which violates New York’s “best use” of State groundwaters for potable purposes.

“In light of the litany of harmful impacts Indian Point inflicts on New York State waters, it is impossible for DEC to grant a certification of compliance with State standards. Riverkeeper is hopeful that at this critical juncture, DEC recognizes the environmental devastation that will continue to be caused by Indian Point, and holds Entergy accountable.”

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