A draft report sent yesterday from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to Entergy, the operators of the Indian Point Nuclear Plant in Buchanan, N.Y., found that Indian Point’s impact on Hudson River sturgeon was serious enough to deny the plant a Water Quality Certificate. The certificate is required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to grant Indian Point its application for a license to operate for an additional 20 years.
The DEC report found that the plant’s water intake systems and its release of untreated water back into the Hudson are killing both Atlantic and shortnose Sturgeon. Atlantic Sturgeon, once so plentiful in Hudson River waters that it was smoked and sold as “Albany Beef,” is currently being considered for the endangered species list (the logo of the DEC’s Hudson River Estuary protection program is an Atlantic sturgeon). The shortnose sturgeon has been listed as an endangered species since 1967. Sturgeon roe, which the DEC says is being destroyed by the plant’s untreated effluent, is more commonly known as caviar.
Needless to say, Indian Point officials are not happy about this.
“We are disappointed with New York State DEC staff’s proposal to deny Indian Point a Water Quality Certificate at this time,” company officials said in an e-mail to The Journal News.
“Today’s Notice of Denial is not a final agency action, however. It is a draft departmental proposal, and an interim step in further proceedings which may include a hearing before a DEC administrative law judge.”
The cooling towers DEC officials are suggesting might solve Entergy’s regulatory difficulties would, according to Entergy, cost over $1 billion, and, again according to Entergy, construction would damage the environment. The company has the option to request a hearing in the next thirty days, challenge the decision, and/or request an extension from the NRC. The plant has two other necessary permits under review.