The cooling system at Indian Point power plant in New York on the Hudson River uses outdated technology that requires up to 2.5 billion gallons of river water each day for cooling. The daily water use results in deaths of almost one billion river organisms per year according to various publications. The AP reported baby fish and fish eggs, and other life forms are sucked into the cooling system, tossed around, warmed up and then ejected, dead or damaged.
Screens on the intakes stop larger fish from entering the system, but some fish are pressed against the screens and are killed or injured. The New York Department of the Environment and Conservation says one of the species that is being impacted is the shortnose sturgeon, and it is illegal to kill the endangered fish.
The state says the plant must retrofit to a newer cooling system which will not damage Hudson River organisms like the current one has been. The company that runs the plant says the retrofit is too expensive and will require operations to shut down for too long, and they can’t afford to lose the revenues. Indian Point is said to have been refusing to upgrade their cooling system for thirty years. (Other plants, including non-nuclear ones, already have the new technology which is much better for the health of rivers.)
A Hudson River conservation group says the resistance has lasted 44 years, “Since its inception in 1966, Riverkeeper, together with our partners Scenic Hudson and NRDC, has been fighting to force Indian Point to upgrade to a closed-loop cooling system to protect Hudson River fisheries.”
So is it possible about 40 billion organisms in the Hudson River have lost their lives due the operation of one power plant? (If the rate of nearly one billion a year was constant for the period.)
Indian Point generates about 30% of New York City’s electricity. The plant actually has three nuclear reactors, Unit 1 was shut down in 1974 due to inadequate emergency core cooling technology. The plant is operated by Entergy Corporation.
Image Credit: Daniel Case