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DEC Position on Indian Point Relicensing

The Indian Point Generating Station is seeking a 20-year extension of its 40-year license from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). On November 30, 2007, the State of New York filed a petition seeking a hearing - a full airing - of the many significant issues that this application presents. The Department of Environmental Conservation drafted the petition in conjunction with the state Attorney General's office.

The story of Indian Point is one that is almost 40 years in the making, and it involves complex, technical but also common sense issues that are set forth in the State of New York's petition to the NRC. For the first time, these issues, which are critical to the future of the Hudson Valley and to the millions who live in the region, can be addressed in an open and comprehensive public process. The State of New York urges the granting of its petition by the NRC, particularly given the 20 years of consequences of such a significant decision. In the end, the process will clearly show that the license renewal for Indian Point should not be granted by the NRC.

Evacuation Contention

The surrounding communities are home to 20 million people and include the financial capital of the world, New York City. Any radiation release scenario is sure to be a complex and profound event, particularly if it is sudden and fast moving. The law, prudence, and common sense dictate that operator of Indian Point account for its evacuation plans under the environmental review of the license renewals and to address precisely how it plans to react to and protect these communities should the unthinkable event happen at Indian Point.

Risk of Terrorist Attack on Spent Fuel Pool Contention

The pools of spent fuel at Indian Point, which store significant volumes of radioactive material -- far more than inside the active nuclear reactors -- have no containment structure. However implausible it may be that this radioactive waste is exposed and unsecured, that is the case at Indian Point. It is also vulnerable to attack. The State of New York contends analysis of this issue must be done as part of this application.

Groundwater Contamination by Leaking Radionuclides Contention

Radionuclides are leaking into the groundwater and into the Hudson River from the aging structures of Indian Point. Amongst others are strontium-90 and tritium, radioactive substances that have been linked to various forms of cancer. These leaks and their obvious public health and safety impacts are not being considered - at this point -- as part of the renewal proceeding.

Impingement and Entrainment Contention

The operation of Indian Point consumes and returns approximately 2.5 billion gallons of Hudson River water each day. Large fish are "impinged" on screens at the water intake where they are severely stressed and then suffocated. Smaller fish are "entrained" in the water intake -- pulled through the operating plant and killed. This process has continued relatively unabated for almost 40 years. The NRC must fully consider the alternative of closed cycle cooling to mitigate these significant adverse impacts.

Heat Shock/Thermal Contention

Indian Point's 40-year-old design uses massive quantities of Hudson River water when operating, and this system returns significantly heated water back to the river. The Hudson River would be a far more productive estuarine ecosystem if the heat shock/thermal impacts from Indian Point could be mitigated. Tens of millions of fish are impacted -- from behavioral and growth impacts to fatalities.

Endangered Species Contention

Operation of Indian Point impinges shortnose sturgeon -- an endangered species -- and impinges and entrains the Atlantic sturgeon, a candidate threatened species under the Act.

Below are documents related to the NRC relicensing proceeding, and the State's recent filings in that proceeding. Also provided below are documents related to NYS DEC's administrative proceeding for the modification of the Clean Water Act (SPDES) permit for Indian Point.

Contact Chris Hogan, Project Manager, at cmhogan@gw.dec.state.ny.us if you have questions related to these documents.

Documents related to the NRC relicensing proceeding

Indian Point NRC License Renewal State's Petition (PDF) (1.1 Mb)
Summaries of Key Contentions (PDF) (23 kb)
State of New York NEPA Scoping Comments dated October 31, 2007 (PDF) (344 kb)
Federal Register Notice for Time Extension dated October 1, 2007 (PDF) (57 kb)
Federal Register Notice posted by NRC dated August 1, 2007 (PDF) (64 kb)

Documents Related to the Department's Role in the Indian Point Groundwater Investigation

Community Fact Sheet Prepared for the May 9, 2008 NRC Government-to-Government Meeting on the Indian Point Energy Center

More about DEC Position on Indian Point Relicensing:

  • Community Fact Sheet - Community Fact Sheet prepared for the May 9, 2008 Government-to-Government Meeting on the Indian Point Energy Center