Kathy Welsh

Kathy Welsh

In a statement released by Scenic Hudson:

HUDSON VALLEY – Following an announcement yesterday by Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino that the county intends to sue New York State over the planned shutdown of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, Scenic Hudson signaled its continued support for closing the Indian Point Energy Center pursuant to a landmark settlement between New York State and Entergy. Riverkeeper was a party to the settlement on behalf of its partners, including Scenic Hudson.

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The aging nuclear plant undermines the health of the Hudson River and surrounding areas. Billions of aquatic organisms are killed each year through the plant’s once-through cooling technology, which leads to the significant decline of numerous important fish species in the river. The plant also has a long history of safety and environmental violations and has the highest population density surrounding a nuclear plant in the United States, with 20 million people living within a 50-mile radius. Based on these devastating impacts and additional concerns related to safety and security, Scenic Hudson has long called for the plant’s shutdown.

The agreement to close the plant is not just a victory for the Hudson River, but also for the communities surrounding the plant. An existing 10-mile evacuation plan is practically unworkable and insufficient to protect the public in case of a nuclear accident. The settlement also requires that spent nuclear fuel will be moved from dangerous storage pools to much safer dry-case storage. Indian Point’s storage pools have leaked radioactive water into the ground and the Hudson River.

A report by Synapse Energy Economics, commissioned by Riverkeeper and the Natural Resources Defense Council, found that clean energy resources can fully replace Indian Point’s power after it closes in 2021, and with very little impact on electricity costs. Replacing Indian Point’s power with sustainable energy sources will also provide well-paying jobs.

“The historic settlement agreement to close Indian Point is a landmark victory for the Hudson River and the people of New York,” said Scenic Hudson Director of Environmental Advocacy Hayley Carlock. “Closing the plant will have great environmental benefits for the Hudson Valley, and put us on the path to reversing decades of serious damage to our river. Sustainable and safe energy resources can replace Indian Point’s power, and can do so economically. Additionally, Governor Cuomo and Entergy have committed to help plant workers find new jobs, and school districts and local governments will receive multi-year financial assistance from the state to help recover lost revenue from the plant’s closing.”

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