Indian Point Radioactive Leak
Published: February 9, 2016
Indian Point Radioactive Leak, The Indian Point Nuclear Plant has been the offender of multiple violations in the past, with the most recent occurring in 2009 when 600,000 gallons of boiling, radioactive water escaped from the facility. (Photo : Twitter Photo Section)
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo revealed Saturday that a leak at the Indian Point nuclear facility in Buchanan has sent contaminant into the area groundwater, causing radioactivity levels 65,000 percent higher than normal, and now he is calling for an investigation to determine what caused the leak.
“Our first concern is for the health and safety of the residents close to the facility and ensuring the groundwater leak does not pose a threat,” Cuomo said Saturday in a statement, according to CBS New York. “This latest failure at Indian Point is unacceptable and I have directed Department of Environmental Conservation Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos and Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker to fully investigate this incident and employ all available measures, including working with Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to determine the extent of the release, its likely duration, cause and potential impacts to the environment and public health.”
The leak was discovered on Friday by Indian Point officials who said that water contaminated by tritium leaked into the groundwater under the facility. A spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the leak occurred after a drain overflowed during a maintenance exercise while workers were transferring water.
Entergy Corp., which runs the plant, elaborated on the situation, saying three monitoring wells out of several dozen at Indian Point showed elevated levels of tritium after the leak, but it said the incident poses no threat public health or safety, according to CNN.
“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 percent of the time, reliably providing electricity for about 2 million residences in New York City and Westchester County.”
This is the latest in a series of violations at Indian Point nuclear power plant – a fact Cuomo was well aware of and pointed out in his letter to Seggos and Zucker.
“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 the letter, according to the New York Daily News.
“This failure continues to demonstrate that Indian Point cannot continue to operate in a manner that is protective of public health and the environment,” he added.
In light of these repeated failures, on top of the ordered investigation, Cuomo has asked federal officials not to extend the license of the Indian Point plants, noting that there is no effective safety and evacuation plan for those that live within the evacuation zone.
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