GovernmentThe Northern Westchester Examiner

Health Experts Continue to Condemn Holtec’s Wastewater Plan 

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Health experts continued to condemn the discharge of radioactive wastewater that may be dumped into the Hudson River as part of the decommissioning of the Indian Point nuclear power plants in Buchanan.

During a Feb. 16 online forum, health professionals contended Holtec International’s plans to release one million gallons of wastewater from the spent fuel cooling pools as early as August posed a serious threat to public health and the entire ecosystem.

“Exposure to even very low levels of radiation is more dangerous than previously estimated, especially for women, children, and during prenatal life,” said Dr. Kathy Nolan, pediatrician, President of Physicians for Social Responsibility of New York and co-founder of Concerned Health Professionals of New York. “Developing embryos, fetuses, and children have immature and rapidly growing organ systems, making them exquisitely sensitive to environmental exposures. Proportionally, they also receive greater doses of contaminants found in air, water, and food compared with adults, putting them at much greater risk from exposure to even tiny amounts of radioactive contaminants. There is no safe dose of radiation during prenatal and perinatal life, and cumulative harmful effects would result from multiple, ongoing exposures.”

Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds Associates and a former nuclear industry executive, said Holtec was taking the easiest and cheapest way to discard the radioactive waste.

“’Dilution is the solution to pollution,’ was created so that nukes could claim waterways as their corporate radioactive waste dumps,” Gundersen said. “It’s not right, and it is not fair to you. Dumping radioactive waste in our waterways is profitable for corporations and passes the lifelong risks onto you, your family, and your community.”

Patrick O’Brien, Director of Community Affairs and Communication for Holtec, said last month the closest community that uses the Hudson for drinking water is Poughkeepsie, about 30 miles north of Indian Point.

“During operations and decommissioning, nuclear power plants, including Indian Point, periodically release treated water. These releases are regulated by U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are typically indistinguishable from the natural radioactivity present in the environment,” O’Brien stated. “We have permits from both the EPA and State of New York that govern these treated releases and these continue to occur according to our permits.”

“All nuclear power plants are required to have NRC-approved procedures that require treatment, such as filtration of the water to reduce the radioactivity to levels as low as reasonably achievable,” he added.


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