To the Editor,
I enjoy kayaking and fishing on the Hudson River. There has been much concern of late about the future discharge of tritium contaminated water from Indian Point back into the Hudson. I attended the latest Indian Point Decommissioning Forum held at the Buchanan-Verplanck Elementary School on March 28, 2023.
The panel consisted of a retired Federal NRC member, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Westchester County Department of Health, and Westchester County Emergency Responses representatives. All represented their respective agencies professionally and answered questions empathetically.
I had been aware that the normal operations of a nuclear power plant required the return of water back to its source and that Indian Point was no exception. Contaminated water from Indian Point has been routinely discharge back into the Hudson since its inception in 1962. The above agencies have been regulating this discharge to ensure that it has not exceeded Federal, State and Local standards for decades. This includes monitoring local marine and plant life for radiological bioaccumulation.
None has ever been found. Ever.
Now that the plant is to be permanently closed, a final discharge is required to complete decommissioning. The concentration of tritium is far less now and the amount of water is a fraction of what was discharged annually. What has changed to make this situation more of a concern now?
Recently, many of our public officials have been contradicting their own agencies’ positions on this topic. By doing so they undermine the very regulatory agencies that have been established by government to ensure public safety and health.
The times have changed. Industries used to be located on waterways so that any and all waste could be dumped into the River at no cost to the polluter. It was just the way things were done.
We know better now. The Hudson River belongs to all of us and for a company to use it for waste disposal is an affront to all of us. Regulations from 1970 are not adequate to protect public health and safety in 2023.
When the reactors were operating they required regular and routine releases of radiologically contaminated water. The NRC set levels that were supposedly below regulatory concern. The National Academy of Science has subsequently done studies that have concluded that there is no safe dose of radiation, especially for women and children who were never included in the early studies.
The reactors are no longer operating and so the rules have changed. “Above all do no harm” is what we must consider now. The criteria now is medical not regulatory.
What’s the rush? The radiologically contaminated water can be maintained in two tanks on site until the tritium decays and it can safely be released or until another way to treat it is found.
The spent fuel rods are already stored on site and will be there for decades. What is the big deal about two more tanks on site?
There were two excellent forums dealing with this last January and February. Access them on the Grassroots.org website. Listen to what the medical experts say now and not what was the standard 50 years ago.
For more information on tritium from medical experts
Why can’t Holtec truck the water away to a federally managed radioactive waste site?
No trucking, no evaporation, get it out of the leaky fuel pools and store it in double lined tanks where it can be monitored. It is our mess. We need to take care of it and not contaminate another community that does not want it.
Pete Seeger dedicated his life to the cleaning up of the Hudson River , along with his followers (Clearwater) so that generations to come could enjoy the majestic beauty of the Hudson River, Any amount of nuclear waste is not a good thing , even with the reasoning we’ve done it before , that shouldn’t have happened , there is always long term consequences to the environment and also people swim in this water , Croton Point .
The people in power have choices let’s hope it’s the right one for all .