Local leaders, residents push back against fast-tracked plan to dump radioactive water from Indian Point into Hudson River
Community backlash is growing over a fast-tracked plan to release radioactive wastewater from Indian Point into the Hudson River.
The plan was controversial before it was pushed forward. Now local leaders and residents are questioning the decision to start next month. It's led multiple people to call on Holtec, the company decommissioning the nuclear plant, to choose an alternative way of discarding spent fuel water, which contains radioactive tritium.
MORE: Advocates demand plan to discharge radioactive waste into Hudson River from Indian Point power plant be stopped
"They are not looking out for public health, they are not looking out for the health of our river," says resident Courtney Williams. "These kinds of radioactive exposures are not healthy. They are worse for children, they are worse for pregnant women, and the effects of radiation are cumulative."
One considered alternative is to store the wastewater until it's less radioactive.
A Holtec spokesperson confirmed they've already begun treating the wastewater and will monitor and sample it, as federally regulated.
Beginning next month, Holtec will begin releasing the water into the Hudson River in three batches of 18,000 gallons. Holtec has permits to do so, as long as the levels of tritium are within state and federal limits.
State Sen. Pete Harckham (D-40th District) sits on the oversight board of the plant's decommissioning. The board was informed Tuesday of the fast-tracking, which means it will happen three months faster than planned.
"While they talk about acceptable limits, those limits were established decades ago and don’t take into account cumulative impacts," says Harckham. "This is either incredibly tone deaf or incredibly arrogant."
Harckham and Assembly Member Dana Levenberg have pending bills that would ban the release of radioactive water into bodies of water. If the bill is to become law this legislative session, it has until June to pass both the state Senate and Assembly. It would be a short timeframe, since the Legislature hasn't approved the state budget that was due earlier this week.
The next Indian Point decommissioning meeting is scheduled for April 27.