Hudson Valley residents will get a chance July 22 to weigh in on this third possible method to discharge—without harming wildlife—the Hudson River water sucked in to cool the nuclear power plants.
- What's up for discussion: Entergy's State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit—up for renewal and over which the company, its opponents, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the local community have been arguing for years.
- What's at stake: The state permit is a separate but essential matter for Indian Point, as Water Quality Certification is one of the key components Entergy needs to get the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to renew its operating license for the nuclear power facility.
- If you go: The DEC has scheduled the hearing in two sessions to receive unsworn statements from the public regarding the issue—2 and 7 p.m. July 22, at the Colonial Terrace, 119 Oregon Road, Cortlandt Manor.
"The goal is simple – end Indian Point’s destructive legacy of killing a billion fish a year over the last forty years, by requiring strict measures that will fully protect the Hudson River ecosystem," says Riverkeeper.org, the non-profit advocacy group, calling on residents to come to the hearing.
With permanent forced fish-protection outages, the plants would have to shut down for 42 to 92 days each year between May 10 and Aug. 10—prime fish spawning time.
That would lead to power problems during the months downstate New York uses a lot of energy, according to the New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance. AREA also argues that the science isn't solid on forced outages' efficacy for the fish.
Currently, Indian Point uses an open system in which Hudson River water is pumped in through a cooling water intake structure equipped with a traveling water screen system. The cycle ends with heated water returned back into the Hudson.
The two already-explored alternatives: giant cooling towers on the Hudson River or a complex underwater screening system.
DEC staff and Riverkeeper argue the closed cycle cooling tower system would protect the fish, using much less water by recycling it and adding only to account for evaporation.
However, Indian Point officials say the towers would create new and different pollution problems, as well as adding massive structures along the Hudson shoreline—a visual pollutant many Cortlandt residents don't want.
The state DEC rejected the screening system.