The plan to reportedly dump upwards of 1 million gallons into the Hudson River was scrapped this week after thunderous pushback
Plans to dump radioactive wastewater from a decommissioned nuclear plant into one of New York’s rivers this spring has been shelved, the company in charge of the facility announced this week.
The move follows thunderous pushback from local and state leaders in opposition of Holtec’s plans for the Indian Point Energy Center located roughly 35 miles north of New York City.
As part of the decommissioning, the company reportedly planned to dump as much as 1 million gallons of radioactive wastewater into the Hudson River starting this May.
“Following conversations with key state stakeholders, who wish to allow for additional public education, we have decided not to go forward with the planned discharge in early May,” the company’s communications director, Patrick O’Brien, wrote to plant’s decommissioning board on Thursday.
“While Holtec notes that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has ultimate authority over radiological liquid releases at Indian Point and at other sites across the country, we hope this voluntary pause will be viewed positively as an indication of our willingness to work together with the State and with the surrounding community.”
The Westchester County facility is home to three nuclear power plants that operated from 1962 to 2021. Holtec International acquired the facility from Entergy Corp. in May 2021 and said it planned to complete decommissioning efforts decades sooner than had Entergy continued its ownership.
At the time of the acquisition, reports indicated decommissioning the nuclear site along the Hudson River would cost about $2.3 billion and take at least 12 years.
Indian Point Unit 1 was permanently retired in 1974. Unit 2 didn’t shut down until April 2020, while Unit 3 was closed on April 30, 2021. The latter two, which went online two years apart in the mid-1970s, were once an important source of electricity in New York City and the lower Hudson Valley.
State lawmakers who represent the region celebrated the decision to avoid dumping into the river.
““I am relieved to hear that Holtec has, wisely, decided to stand down from its intention to accelerate the timeline of its discharges into the Hudson River,” said Assemblywoman Dana Levenberg.
Despite the announcement, Levenberg planned to rally with other county officials Friday afternoon to call for the passage of a state bill prohibiting “the discharge of any radiological agent into the waters of the state.”
“The lack of transparency and inadequate communications with the public about this plan have been unacceptable, and our constituents’ concerns about the composition of the water cannot be overlooked. I expect Holtec, the NRC and other regulators to provide comprehensive and thorough answers to our questions about the oversight of Holtec’s decommissioning of IPEC,” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said in a statement.