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Community Fact Sheet

Prepared for the May 9, 2008 NRC Government-to-Government meeting

Groundwater Investigation

To protect the interests of the citizens and the environment of the State of New York, scientists from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the NYS Department of Health (DOH) oversaw Entergy's investigation into the source and fate of the radionuclide contamination in the groundwater on the Indian Point Energy Center site. The State's goals were to ensure that Entergy performed a comprehensive characterization of site groundwater contamination, took appropriate actions to identify and stop the sources of the leaks, carried out any necessary remedial actions, and developed a comprehensive monitoring program to detect any future leaks.

General

In 2005, Entergy discovered water leaking from a crack in the exterior of the Unit 2 Spent Fuel Pool (SFP). The subsequent investigation identified tritium (radioactive hydrogen or H-3) contamination in groundwater coming from the Unit 2 SFP and radioactive strontium-90 (Sr-90) and other isotopes coming from the Unit 1 SFP.

NYS Involvement

DEC and DOH provided State oversight for the hydrological investigation. During this process, we:

  • Collected split samples of groundwater from on-site and off-site monitoring wells.
  • Reviewed and made recommendations on the work of Entergy's hydrology contractor.
  • Performed an independent assessment of potential public health impacts.
  • Recommended that Entergy expand its Hudson River fish sampling program in 2007 to address questions regarding potential impacts from Sr-90.
  • Collected split samples of fish flesh from this enhanced effort, as well as unilaterally collecting bone samples for Sr-90 analysis. (See below for details.)
  • Participated in periodic stakeholder calls and meetings.

Key Findings

  • Groundwater from the site flows east to west - directly toward and into the Hudson River - and does not flow to surrounding properties.
  • Contaminated groundwater is moving into the Hudson River, but the levels of radionuclides in the River are below State surface water standards for H-3 (20,000 pCi/l) and Sr-90 (8 pCi/l).
  • Concentrations of Sr-90 have been detected on site at up to 14 times the drinking water standard.
  • No drinking water sources are affected because the Hudson River in this area is brackish and is not used as a drinking water source.
  • Because the Hudson River is not used as a drinking water source in this area, the only pathway for a dose to the public from groundwater entering the River is through consumption of fish.

Outcome of the Investigation

  • DEC and DOH have accepted Entergy's characterization of the extent and levels of contamination reported in its 1/7/08 "Hydrogeologic Site Investigation Report."
  • The planned remedy for the Sr-90 contamination (removal of the spent fuel and water from the Unit 1 SFP) will remove the active source of contamination for that plume, but residual contamination will continue for many years.
  • The H-3 contamination primarily came from the Unit 2 SFP.
  • While the known leaks have been stopped in the Unit 2 SFP, because of an inability to inspect the liner in the Unit 2 SFP while the unit is operating, the full extent of the leaks is not known.
  • With the removal of the active contamination source, Entergy's planned use of monitored natural attenuation is an acceptable approach to managing the remaining Sr-90 and H-3 plumes.
  • Because H-3 becomes part of the water molecule, it cannot be removed from site groundwater by current treatment methods.
  • Entergy's 2007 calculated doses to the public through fish consumption (0.00027 mrem whole body and 0.00099 mrem organ dose) are less than 1% of the NRC dose limits.

Future State Actions

  • Collect split samples from Entergy's groundwater program in locations that complement NRC's efforts.
  • Review data from Entergy's monitoring program.
  • Review Entergy's annual report on groundwater discharges to the Hudson River.
  • Assess Entergy's annual calculation of potential doses to the public from groundwater discharges to the Hudson.
  • Complete the analysis of fish bone samples, assess the results, and issue a report.

Fish Sampling Details

Hhdson River Fish Sampling Locations
Hudson River Fish Sampling Locations

DEC and DOH worked with Entergy and the NRC to develop the 2007 enhanced fish sampling effort in order to:

  1. Develop a more scientifically rigorous sampling program;
  2. Evaluate the appropriateness of Entergy's environmental background (control) location; and
  3. Perform a thorough evaluation of this potential human exposure pathway.

To accomplish this:

  • Sampling focused on species that do not migrate over significant distances in the River and either are expected to be present at all sampling locations or are of commercial or recreational importance. These species included striped bass, blue crab, carp, white perch, American eel, catfish, and sunfish.
  • Samples were collected from the area near Indian Point, the existing upstream control area near Roseton, and 70 miles upstream near the Village of Catskill (see map).
  • Samples of the flesh of each species at each location were analyzed by the State, NRC, and Entergy.
  • Bone samples are currently being analyzed by the State.
  • Both flesh and bone are being analyzed for Sr-90 and gamma-emitting radionuclides.
  • The State will review the data to assess the current environmental monitoring program and to evaluate any potential impacts to public health and the environment.

Fish Results to Date

  • DOH has confirmed Entergy's calculated dose to humans from fish.
  • The enhanced 2007 fish sampling effort showed no significant difference between Sr-90 in the flesh of fish caught near the site and fish caught as far as 70 miles upstream.
  • The State laboratory has now received all flesh and bone samples, and a report on the results of the analyses should be available by the end of June 2008.

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