Letter: Indian Point and the Hudson River

Every day The Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan sucks in 2.5 billion gallons of Hudson River water and shoots it back 15-20 degrees hotter, creating a thermal plume that kills fish and river life by the millions each year. The nuclear plant is operating on a state discharge permit that has long since expired.

When New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) examined the effect of the 40-foot-diameter intake pipe on fish kills, destruction of eggs, larvae and other creatures at the bottom of the food chain, it became apparent how much Indian Point impacts the Hudson River. The DEC has refused Entergy a Water Quality Certificate (WQC) until the facility lowers fish kills and water usage.

Without a WQC Indian Point cannot continue to discharge waste into the Hudson River. Entergy is now on its fourth appeal and hearings are in process in Albany.

The DEC has never called for the cooling towers that Entergy claims would be such a blight on the Hudson. Its denial of Entergy’s request for the WQC calls for Entergy to submit plans for closed-cycle cooling. Mechanical draft is the industry standard for retrofitting plants. It works like a giant car radiator and would require a four-story building with industrial strength fans. It would eliminate once-through cooling and reduce both water usage and fish-kill by at least 95 percent. Building it would create a lot of good-paying construction jobs.

Why doesn’t Entergy spend its money on a closed-cycle cooling system instead of lawyers?

Judy Allen
Putnam Valley


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6 thoughts on “Letter: Indian Point and the Hudson River

  1. But what are the options?

    1. Go without electricity.
    2. Coal, oil or gas-fired plants with their inherent CO2, SO2 and Mercury emissions (and still raising river water temps).

    Solar energy, wind energy are not viable options in our area. By my research nuclear gives the best option with minimal effect on or environment.

  2. That nuclear power is clean with minimal effect on our environment is a tired and well-worn fairy tale. Everyone knows that the waste produced at Indian Point, and all nuclear plants, is the most deadly stuff on the planet and remains so for thousands of years. There is absolutely no safe place to store it and even if there was, it is too dangerous to transport across our country.

    A single major accident at the outdated and ancient nuke plant in Buchanan would render the Hudson Valley and even NYC uninhabitable. The Pacific Ocean is currently being made radioactive by three nuclear reactors that melted down in Japan and are still out of control and leaking into the sea.

    Yes, it all seems so clean, until it creates a catastrophe. There is no other energy option as dangerous to life and property, and it needs to be off the table as an option for energy generation.

    Fortunately, new power lines are already being constructed under New York’s Energy Highway plan and will provide power to Westchester and NYC when the plant closes. Of course, in Putnam we do not receive any power from Indian Point, only the threat of evacuation and abandonment of our homes.

  3. Indian Point is a dirty bomb of our own making. Our protectors talk of dirty bombs as something in a suitcase, and millions on millions are spent to detect and keep such out of Manhattan. And yet just a few miles away, there are virtually thousands of such “suitcases” piled in the spent fuel pools at Indian Point, and somehow that is “OK”.

    I think we who live nearby should have a vote on who’s really OK with this. The radioactive rods need to go to a less inhabited place. The plant needs to be mothballed. Modern energy technology makes this whole catastrophe unnecessary.

  4. Meanwhile, the tanker cars transporting crude roll along the tracks west of the Hudson or float on the river itself every day, each one a potential Lynchburg, Lac-Mégantic, or Exxon Valdez catastrophe.

    Scenic Hudson and Riverkeeper noted in an article in the Huffington Post on May 2 that there have been “four derailments since December of tanker trains on a line that runs through New York State and perilously close to the Hudson River. Fortunately, no spills or human injuries occurred.”

    Stay tuned.

  5. I understand why some people want to keep Indian point running. For example, employees of Entergy might think their jobs depend on it. These are the same people that have been lying to us for three years about Fukushima Daiichi. Our government recommended that all Americans within 50 miles of Fukushima should leave.

    If that had been Indian Point, where would I be living now? Would you have left your home? Where would you be? For Indian Point, 50 miles includes be a big part of New Jersey, all of New York City, Westchester, Fairfield, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, Dutchess – from Kingston to Staten Island – from Middletown to Bridgeport. Can you imagine all of us leaving?

    Why do we who live near a power plant that was designed to last 40 years, want to keep it running into the time it was designed to fail?

    And, yes, there is crude oil on and near our river contained in vessels we have seen fail over and over, and the world is about to cook us all, and we act as though we have no children or grandchildren.

  6. I learned recently about the potential of crude oil spill from a barge or a train fouling the cooling system that Indian Point depends on. The “once through” cooling makes the cascade effect of failures increasingly dangerous. Even a “minor” oil spill could have catastrophic results.

    We need to look at the consequences of one event affecting another. When the stakes are so high, we need to look at them very very carefully.

    Just read too about the proposed natural gas pipeline proposed to pass by Indian Point. Are they thinking “what if…”?