Radioactive wastewater remains

The Indian Point Closure Task Force on Monday (Oct. 16) announced that Holtec, the company decommissioning the nuclear power plant near Peekskill, had moved all spent fuel to dry-cask storage.

The fuel had been stored at the plant, which closed in 2021, in cooling pools. The task force said 3,998 “spent fuel assemblies” are now contained in 127 reinforced concrete and steel casks on the site.

The casks are expected to remain on-site for at least 10 years. Since the federal government has not yet made good on a 1998 promise to build a facility capable of safely storing radioactive waste for up to 300,000 years, the casks have nowhere to go. Holtec is in the process of attempting to obtain approval to construct an interim site in New Mexico.

Although the cooling pools have been emptied of spent fuel, the radioactive wastewater remains. Its fate is unclear after Gov. Kathy Hochul in August enacted a law that prevents Holtec from discharging the water into the Hudson River. Buchanan, the village where Indian Point is located, has passed local legislation preventing the long-term storage of the wastewater in tanks at the site.

Holtec has said it is considering “multiple options” about what to do with the wastewater, but has released no further information.

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