In what one environmental group called a “milestone in the state’s evolving energy landscape,” New York’s Indian Point Energy Center—a nuclear power plant located just 36 miles north of Midtown Manhattan—will permanently shut down on Friday.
“There are 20 million people living within 50 miles of Indian Point and there is no way to evacuate them in case of a radiological release. And the risk of that is quite real.”
—Paul Gallay, Riverkeeper
The closure of the 58-year-old facility, which is located along the Hudson River in Westchester County, is the result of a 2017 agreement (pdf) between New York officials, plant owner Entergy, and the environmental group Riverkeeper. Going offline will be the first step in a $2.3 billion, 12-year decommissioning process that will see the dramatic demolition of the plant’s towering twin domes.
While shutting down the plant means more planet-heating fossil fuels will be burned to make up for the lost production, anti-nuclear campaigners and other shutdown proponents say they’re more worried about the risk of an accident or terror attack at the plant.
“There are 20 million people living within 50 miles of Indian Point and there is no way to evacuate them in case of a radiological release. And the risk of that is quite real,” Riverkeeper president Paul Gallay told the Associated Press.
Accoring to Riverkeeper, Indian Point “has a long history of accidental radioactive leaks and spills.”
“Spent fuel pools at the plant housing toxic nuclear waste have been leaking since the 1990s, corroded buried pipes have sprung radioactive leaks, tanks have spilled hundreds of gallons radioactively contaminated water, and malfunctioning valves and pumps have leaked radionuclide-laden water,” the group said on its website.
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