With Gov. Kathy Hochul sign­ing into law a bill that pro­hibits the dump­ing of ra­dioac­tive waste into the Hud­son River, en­vi­ron­men­tal groups and elected of­fi­cials are turn­ing their at­ten­tion to the pos­si­ble harm­ful ef­fects of the toxic dis­charge that has oc­curred for the last 60 years.

In an Aug. 23 let­ter to Hochul and var­i­ous state agen­cies, a group of more than 300 called on the state to lead an “en­vi­ron­men­tally sound waste man­age­ment process” to ad­dress Holtec In­ter­na­tion­al’s waste­water pro­ce­dures at the In­dian Point nu­clear power plants in north­ern Westch­ester.

The eye­brows of those who signed the let­ter were raised af­ter a whistle­blower at a Holtec-run plant in Mass­a­chu­setts claimed in an Aug. 21 cor­re­spon­dence tri­tium con­t­a­m­i­nated waste­water there was be­ing heated so it could evap­o­rate and be re­leased into the air.

“Breath­ing evap­o­rated wa­ter is more harm­ful than drink­ing con­t­a­m­i­nated wa­ter,” Dr. Gor­don Ed­wards, an in­ter­na­tional ex­pert on nu­clear en­ergy and waste, said dur­ing an Aug. 23 Zoom press con­fer­ence.

The dis­charge of treated ef­flu­ent from nu­clear plants is reg­u­lated by the fed­eral Nu­clear Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion (NRC) and En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency.

Holtec, which was plan­ning to dump one mil­lion gal­lons of waste­water this fall, has con­tended that prac­tice is the best al­ter­na­tive for han­dling the dis­charge from the 240-acre site in Buchanan.

“Thank­fully, we stopped the Hud­son from be­ing used as a ra­dioac­tive sewer, now we need New York State to take the lead in en­sur­ing proper mon­i­tor­ing and main­te­nance of all the tons of nu­clear waste at In­dian Point,” said at­tor­ney Su­san Shapiro of LEAF of Hud­son Val­ley. “De­com­mis­sion­ing is an ex­per­i­men­tal new field and un­for­tu­nately Holtec has very lit­tle, if any, ex­pe­ri­ence de­com­mis­sion­ing nu­clear re­ac­tors, let alone In­dian Point, which holds the na­tion’s largest in­ven­tory of com­mer­cial ra­dioac­tive nu­clear waste.”

“Gov­er­nor Hochul sign­ing the ban dis­charge bill is the first step,” said Suzan­nah Glid­den of United for Clean En­ergy. “Now (we need) to learn how to safely store it on­site af­ter we learn from state test­ing ex­actly what’s in the waste­water and the ecosys­tem.”

Anne Rabe, En­vi­ron­men­tal Pol­icy Di­rec­tor for the New York Pub­lic In­ter­est Re­search Group, said a state study should be com­pared to a re­cently dis­cov­ered De­part­ment of Health 1958 base­line study that was done be­fore In­dian Point started that tested air, wa­ter, soil, fish, wildlife and cow’s milk within a 20-mile ra­dius of the site.

“This is re­ally se­ri­ous and that’s why our first call is for a New York-led in­spec­tion,” she said.

Source: https://thehudsonindependent.com/state-asked-to-study-wastewater-procedures-at-indian-pt/