[ad_1]Investigators are trying to determine how radioactive water spilled into an underground well at the Indian Point nuclear power plant.
Environmental watchdogs are calling for the Indian Point nuclear power plant to shut down while investigators try to determine how an apparent overflow spilled highly radioactive water into an underground well.
“Indian Point had seven different malfunctions since May of 2015 . . . the next one could be a catastrophe,” Paul Gallay, president of Riverkeeper, said Sunday.
“The stakes are just too high,” said Gallay, whose group is dedicated to protecting the Hudson River and the drinking water supply of 9 million city and Hudson Valley residents.
Entergy Corp., which runs the plant, said three monitoring wells out of several dozen at Indian Point showed elevated levels of tritium after the leak, which was discovered Friday.
“There is zero consequence to public health or safety as a result of this matter. Therefore, statements calling for the plants to close do not make any sense,” said Jerry Nappi, a spokesman for Entergy.
“Indian Point is online an average of more than 90% of the time, reliably providing electricity for about 2 million residences in New York City and Westchester County,” he said.
Officials at the state Department of Environmental Conservation said Entergy first collected samples showing elevated levels of tritium on Jan. 26 and Jan. 28. Entergy managers received the lab results on Wednesday.
Gov. Cuomo ordered the state health and environmental conservation commissioners to investigate the incident.Overflow of water with radioactive tritium at Indian Point nuclear power plant has "zero consequence to public health or safety," said owner Entergy Corp.
“This is not the first such release of radioactive water at Indian Point, nor is this the first time that Indian Point has experienced significant failure in its operation and maintenance,” Cuomo said in a letter to acting Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos and Health Commissioner Howard Zucker.
“This failure continues to demonstrate that Indian Point cannot continue to operate in a manner that is protective of public health and the environment,” the governor’s letter said.
Officials at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the leak was caused by a drain that overflowed while workers were transferring water containing high levels of radioactive contamination.
“If you are the 45-year-old Indian Point nuclear power plant, you malfunction — it’s just what you do,” said Gallay. “This plant isn’t safe anymore.”
Cuomo and his administration have asked federal officials not to extend the license of the Indian Point plants, noting that there is no effective safety and evacuation plan for the more than 20 million people who live within 50 miles of the site.
The nuclear plant located roughly 35 miles north of the city has a history of groundwater contamination.
A federal oversight agency issued a report after about 100,000 gallons of tritium-tainted water entered the groundwater supply in 2009, and elevated levels of tritium also were found in two monitoring wells at the plant in 2014.