- Entergy's Indian Point nuclear facility continues to face serious pressure, but New York Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has said calls to immediately shutter the plant are not considering the impacts on power prices, and he wants the plant to continue operating as long as it can do so safely, the Daily Freeman reports.
- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) this month called for an investigation following radiation spikes at three monitoring wells. The plant is located just 40 miles from New York City, and Cuomo has previously advocated closing it down over safety concerns.
- Last week, six environmental and health groups led by Sierra Club called for the immediate shutdown of Indian Point. The groups said the leak "likely contains a collection of radioactive elements ... that could migrate off the property."
Sen. Schumer is calling for something akin to calm and order in the debate over Indian Point. While he says he has a record of being tough with Entergy, he asserts closing down the plant because of the recent leak would send power prices skyrocketing while the plant could still have been safely operated.
About a quarter of the region's power comes from Indian Point, notes the Daily Freeman.
“I have told some of the environmental people, if you can show me a plan to figure out a way to replace that electricity, fine, but if you can’t, it’s going to raise electricity rates 30 or 40 percent, which are high enough on average people and that’s not the way to go," Schumer told the newspaper. "In the meantime, I have emphasized very strong safety."
A half dozen groups, including the Sierra Club, Riverkeeper, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, Scenic Hudson and Physicians for Social Responsibility, have asked federal regulators to suspend operations at the plant.
“Currently Entergy is unable to properly access its aging labyrinth of more than three miles of pipes beneath the Indian Point site,” Sierra Club President Aaron Mair said in a statement. “Entergy focuses on tritium, but the actual leak likely contains a collection of radioactive elements, including Strontium-90, Cesium-137, Cobalt-60, and Nickel-63 that could migrate off the property."
Maier said it is "time to shut down one of New York’s — and the nation’s — oldest failing experiments with nuclear energy."
Entergy said earlier this month that groundwater tests "confirm anticipated fluctuations in tritium levels. These levels continue to pose no threat to public health or safety."
Gov. Cuomo is a longtime opponent of the plant, which he believes is too close to New York City's millions of residents to safely operate. 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.
On another front, Gov. Cuomo and Entergy are wrestling with the utility's decision to shutter its James A. Fitzpatrick nuclear facility in upstate New York. Gov. Cuomo is fighting to keep the plant up and running to preserve more than 600 jobs, while Entergy said high operating costs and low natural gas prices make operations less cost-effective.