Indian Point's water-intake system kills nearly
1 billion aquatic organisms a year.
In April 2010, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
ruled that Indian Point violates the federal Clean Water Act
because the power plant’s water-intake system kills nearly a billion aquatic organisms a year,
including the shortnose sturgeon, an endangered species.
In addition, radioactive material is feared to have polluted the groundwater directly beneath the nuclear plant.
Indian Point’s cooling system units 2 and 3,
commissioned in the early 1970s, take in a combined 2.5 billion gallons of water from the Hudson River daily
to create steam for turbines and to cool the reactors.
That’s more than twice the average daily water consumption of all of New York City.
The water is then pumped back into the Hudson, 20 or 30 degrees hotter.
During this process, plankton, fish eggs and larvae are sucked into the plant’s machinery.
The water pressure also causes fish to be trapped, or impinged, against intake screens.
The plant’s “once-through” cooling system was obsolete by the late 1970s,
when the state of the art became “closed-cycle” cooling — more akin to a car’s radiator —
which consumes less than 10 percent as much water and kills fewer organisms.
Upgrading to this “closed-cycle,” though costly,
will help Indian Point satisfy the “best available technology” requirement of state and federal water quality regulations.
Read more from the New York Times.
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