The Northern Westchester Examiner

Proposed Summer Closings of Indian Point Plants Opposed

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Indian Point PlantsA plan designed to protect fish in the Hudson River that would force the Indian Point nuclear power plants in Buchanan to close for several months during the summer is being opposed by local officials and the owner of the controversial facilities.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) held a public hearing in Cortlandt two weeks ago regarding the renewal of a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit from Entergy, which is required by the federal Atomic Safety and Licensing Board when it reviews Entergy’s 20-year renewal license application for Indian Point.

The DEC is considering an option that would require the construction of two baseball stadium-size cooling towers and the shutdown of Indian Point between May 10 and August 10 from anywhere from 42 to 92 days.

Entergy is against the DEC’s closed-cycle cooling system option, favoring instead Wedgewire screens, which it argues is a proven solution to protecting aquatic organisms. The DEC has so far given Entergy’s plan a thumbs down.

Fred Dacimo, vice president of license renewal for Energy Nuclear Operations, called the DEC’s proposal “a terrible idea for Indian Point, New Yorkers, and our environment.”

“Forcing Indian Point to shut down every summer, which is not even a technology at all, poses serious consequences to human health and safety, the New York economy, and the local environment, while failing to guarantee any measurable benefit to an already healthy fish population,” Dacimo testified. “All of these impacts might be worth considering if outages at Indian Point were actually necessary to protect fish eggs and larvae, but they are not.”

The Cortlandt Town Board passed a resolution opposing the cooling towers, stating they would be “inappropriate.” It noted it was supporting a position taken by a previous Town Board in 1975 when the construction of cooling towers were proposed by former owner Con Edison. The proposed cooling towers would use approximately 2.5 billion gallons of water daily from the Hudson.

Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi also expressed concern about the estimated 1,200 workers at Indian Point that would be unemployed during a shutdown.

Deb Milone, executive director of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than 450 members, said closing Indian Point would lead to higher energy costs in the region.

“Hudson Valley ratepayers benefit from low-cost, non-emitting, reliable power from Indian Point while our communities benefit from the 1,200 jobs and related customers and tax revenue,” Milone stated. “Closing Indian Point for several months a year also sends a very negative message to companies considering relocating to New York or expanding here that the state is hostile to business.”

The Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, which opposes extending the license for Indian Point, supports the DEC’s closed-cycle cooling plan, saying it’s the best technology available. The group noted the construction of the towers would create many good paying jobs.

Further hearings on the subject will be held by the DEC next month.

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