Ahead of a public hearing scheduled for Tuesday evening regarding Holtec International’s plan to discharge 1 million gallons of wastewater from the former Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, New York, more than 100 organizations wrote to Gov. Kathy Hochul this week demanding she take action to stop the plan for good.
Led by the Stop Holtec Coalition, 138 groups including Food & Water Watch, Hudson Riverkeeper, and Beyond Nuclear called on the Democratic governor to support the passage of state Senate Bill 5181 and Assembly Bill 5338, both of which would prohibit the dumping of “any radiological agent into the waters of the state.”
Food & Water Watch New York tweeted last week that it is “time for Gov. Hochul to choose a side” regarding radioactive waste dumping.
Should we let Holtec dump radioactive wastewater from Indian Point into the Hudson River?— Food & Water Watch New York (@FWWNewYork) April 19, 2023
Time for @GovKathyHochul to choose a side. https://t.co/3IoCXcOOIR
“We are deeply concerned about the impacts on the health and safety of local residents, the river’s ecosystem, and local economies,” wrote the groups. “The Hudson Valley region is densely populated and also serves as a recreational area for millions from New York City and across the state. We call on you to use your authority as governor to ensure the necessary state and federal agencies take action to halt the dumping of toxic waste into our waterways including the Hudson River.”
The letter was sent less than two weeks after Holtec announced it would delay its plan to begin the discharge, which had previously been set to begin in May with the dumping of 45,000 gallons of wastewater from pools that were used to cool spent nuclear reactor fuel rods before Indian Point was shuttered in 2021 after decades of local activism.
The company initiated a “voluntary pause” on the plan this month to give it time to better explain the discharge process to local community members—about 100,000 of whom use the Hudson as a primary drinking water source.
With groups including Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) warning in recent months that the treated wastewater could contain the isotope tritium—which can cause cancer, miscarriage, and other adverse health effects—many local leaders and residents say they don’t need Holtec to further explain the plan to know that they oppose it.
“To best ensure public health and safety, Holtec should be required use the precautionary principle and keep radioactive fuel pool water contained on site—and not release it out into the environment, where it can bioaccumulate in the aquatic ecosystem and put swimmers and paddlers and others at risk of exposure,” saidManna Jo Greene, environmental action director for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. “When passed, Gov. Holchul should urgently sign the [S.B. 5181] and the Indian Point Decommissioning Oversight Board should do everything in its power to ensure the best possible alternative is implemented.”
Advocates have said Holtec should keep the wastewater in tanks at the site of the decommissioned plant until a safe disposal method can be found.
The signatories of the letter sent to Hochul noted that 21 municipalities have recently passed resolutions officially opposing the discharge plan, and nearly half a million people have signed a petition to stop Holtec.
“Holtec’s ploy is ludicrously dangerous—and it’s on Gov. Hochul to stop the dump,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “Years after activists successfully halted the nuclear threat in the Hudson Valley, we are called to arms yet again to defend precious water resources from industry’s expediency. Gov. Hochul must listen to the people, and do everything in her power to keep radioactive waste out of our water.”
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