- Entergy's Indian Point nuclear facility, located about 40 miles north of New York City, is leaking contaminated water, with monitoring wells showing a spike in radiation, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who has pushed to shutter the facility over safety concerns, Reuters reports.
- Cuomo's office released a statement over the weekend saying there were "alarming levels of radioactivity at three monitoring wells," with one showing a nearly 65,000% increase. The contamination has not migrated offsite, and is not expected to pose an immediate threat to public health.
- Cuomo said he has ordered New York's departments for health and the environment to probe the leaks.
Radioactive tritium-contaminated water leaked into the groundwater at the Indian Point Nuclear facility, but Entergy has informed Gov. Cuomo's office that there is no immediate threat to the public's safety.
What is virtually certain, however, is that this will give new ammunition to Cuomo in his attempts to shutter the facility over concerns it is located too close to New York City and its millions of residents. Entergy and Cuomo have been locked in a battle over the state's nuclear fleet, and in January, the generator filed a lawsuit over a rejected water permit at the Indian Point facility.
“This latest failure at Indian Point is unacceptable," Cuomo said in a statement.
The governor, in a letter, 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," which could include working with federal nuclear regulators to determine the extent of the release and potential impacts to the environment and public health.
"This failure continues to demonstrate that Indian Point cannot continue to operate in a manner that is protective of public health and the environment," Cuomo wrote in his letter to Seggos and Zucker.
Cuomo has called for closing the Indian Point facility, arguing it is not possible to safely operate a reactor so close to the nation's largest metropolitan area, which is home to some 20 million residents.
Last year, the state denied Indian Point a water use permit, and Entergy filed a lawsuit in response alleging that the state's objections were based on concerns over the plant's safety, which is regulated by the federal government and not New York.
Though Cuomo wants to close Indian Point, he has also said New York will do everything in its power to block Entergy's plans to shutter its upstate James A. FitzPatrick nuclear plant. The company wants to close that plant either this year or in early 2017, but Cuomo has said he would use "every legal and regulatory avenue" in effort to save more than 600 jobs at the facility."