“Radioactive water leaking under the Indian Point Nuclear Power plant site
and into the ground has grown to roughly the size of the Central Park
Reservoir, plant officials told the Daily News.
Cleanup of the leaks at the aging Westchester County plant, 24 miles
upstream from New York City on the Hudson River, is set to start by the end
of the month, said Don Mayer, director of special projects for Entergy,
which runs the plant.
But even as the long-planned fix begins, the size of the problem continues
“The underground area has contaminated water that is 50 to 60 feet deep,”
said Mayer. “There is also another area, or underground plume, that is about
30 feet wide by 350 feet long.”
Nearby residents and environmental advocacy groups, including Robert F.
Kennedy’s Riverkeeper, fear the radiation will seep into underground
aquifers and reach public drinking supplies.
“Tens of thousands of gallons of water are leaching out into the ground, but
most of it is going into the river. It’s a serious problem,” said Phillip
Musegaas, a policy analyst with the Riverkeeper.
Entergy, which has dug 54 wells to monitor and detect contamination in the
ground water, maintains the drinking water is safe. Drinking supplies tested
2 miles from the plant last spring were found free of radioactive
contaminants, according to Entergy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The leaks are believed to be coming from spent-fuel pools and other areas
around the reactors. “One area is predominantly leaking tritium and the other Strontium-90,” Mayer said.
Strontium-90 is a radioactive isotope that increases the risk of cancer, and
tritium is carcinogenic and mutagenic, according to experts from the
National Academies of Science.
“We want to remediate that and try to contain the water and control where it
flows,” Mayer said.“
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