Delays May discharge of wastewater into Hudson
The board overseeing the decommissioning of the Indian Point nuclear power plant said on Thursday (April 13) that the company carrying out the plan no longer intends to release low-grade radioactive water into the Hudson River next month.
In a letter to the Indian Point Decommissioning Oversight Board (DOB) dated April 13, Holtec International said that it recognized that its controversial plan to release 45,000 gallons of water from the plant’s spent-fuel pools “caused public questions.”
“Following conversations with key state stakeholders, who wish to allow for additional education, we have decided not to go forward with the planned discharge in early May,” the letter stated.
The company said that its “voluntary pause” will give it an opportunity to “further engage with elected officials, the Decommissioning Oversight Board and state agencies, as well as allow for an opportunity for regulatory agencies to respond to questions raised by stakeholders and the public.
“Additionally, this will provide both federal and state regulatory agencies time to continue explaining the science and regulations at future DOB meetings [and] will only serve to help this public process.”
Tom Congdon, the chair of the DOB, said that Holtec’s decision to postpone the release is “an important step toward rebuilding trust in the community” and will give the company time to “engage with the elected officials in the region and to respond to their concerns, while staying true to the key public-interest principle of a safe, prompt, and thorough decommissioning of Indian Point.”
In a statement, state Sen. Pete Harckham, who is co-sponsoring legislation that would prohibit the knowing release of any radiological agents into New York state waters, called the move “the right decision.”
“All the stakeholders deserve an opportunity to continue our dialogue with the company as it seeks a solution to the stored waste at the Indian Point Energy Center during its decommissioning,” he said.
Holtec had ignited a furor just nine days earlier, when it said on April 4 that it would begin releasing water from the Unit 2 reactor in May, months earlier than planned. Holtec said that the water would be sampled, monitored and filtered before it was released, although it will still contain boron and tritium.
The DOB’s next public meeting is scheduled for April 27.
Thanks Brian for keeping us posted on this crucial news. Close call. Sure to be more ahead.
I have been following your reports on the tritiated water release from the former Indian Point nuclear power plant but can’t find the most important piece of information: How much tritium is Holtec intending to release? The numbers everyone is reporting are for the overall volume; I couldn’t find anywhere how contaminated that water is. It would obviously make a huge difference if the water is very contaminated or lightly contaminated.
A Holtec representative says “the amount released would be consistent with historical discharges and the measured dose would be equal to or less than previous years due to there no longer being a source (fuel) in the water and decay occurring every day.” A chart provided by the company shows that the “total whole body dose from Indian Point liquid effluent releases” between 2005 and 2021 ranged from 0.000458 millirem (2014) to 0.011966 millirem (2021). The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission allows up to 3 millirem of radioactive liquid effluent releases annually.