Worried parents give new meaning to ‘nuclear reactors’
At a meeting of the Education Council in November 2021 of Hendrick hudson School district, Amy Galinko stepped on the podium. “Even if the board does not agree with me and the 170 families in my group, there is a risk of BV [Buchanan Verplanck] Elementary, they must at least recognize that it would only take a bad day or a bad hour for our concerns to be validated and all of our lives to be irrevocably changed.
Amy’s group is Demolition of Safe Indian Point, that she started with her husband Dan as a forum for concerned parents like themselves to discuss the safety implications of the Indian Point decommissioning, and to “serve as an organizing point to hold officials accountable to their public safety.”
Indian Point Energy Center, the nuclear power plant that was in Buchanan since 1962, closed permanently in April 2021. It is currently under decommissioning, a long and complicated process involving decontamination and dismantling of the facility, transport of nuclear waste and preparation of the property for other uses.
In May 2021, Indian tip was bought by Holtec International from Entregie Company as part of an agreement that allowed the site to go into immediate dismantling. Holtec at pledged to dismantle all three nuclear reactors and clean up the site (the plant and surrounding 240 acres) in 12 to 15 years, decades faster than expected.
Holtec is first and foremost a nuclear company fuel and waste management company. When it applied to the purchase of Indian Point Entergy in April 2019, the company had never decommissioned a nuclear facility.
It is currently in the early stages of decommissioning two other nuclear power plants: Oyster stream in New Jersey (closed in September 2018) and Pilgrim in Massachusetts (closed in May 2019). Indian Point will be the third of its young “fleet”.
Although Indian Point is no longer operated as a nuclear facility, as it did when the the hudson river The plant was owned and operated by Entergy, a significant portion of the surrounding population – especially those whose children are enrolled in nearby schools – remain critical and vigilant, focusing on safety concerns with the current decommissioning plan.
Holetc has clashed with authorities and regulators on several occasions over the past few years, a turbulent history that has helped heighten concerns among local authorities and residents about its oversight of the Indian Point decommissioning process.
According to Holtec Post-Closure Decommissioning Activity Report (PSDAR), Indian tipThe used nuclear fuel will be removed from the reactor vessel and placed in the used fuel pool to cool, which has happened.
Once cooled, the fuel will be placed in stainless steel cans and transported by 2024 to the Independent spent fuel storage facility (ISFSI) on the property. Used nuclear fuel will be removed by the Department of Energy (DOE) starting in 2030 and completed by 2061.
TThe whole process will be controlled at the federal level by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and at the state level by the Directorate of Public Security (DPS), as well as by the Decommissioning Supervisory Board (DOB), including representatives of the local government, school district, local union leaders, environmental and technical experts and relevant state agencies.
NYS Assembly Member Sandy Galef points out that Holtec the plan, as drafted, does not mention the presence of gas and high pressure pipelines that pass through Indian Point, including the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline.
In a public comment to NRC, Galef noted, “A cheeky and cavalier approach to pipeline safety would put countless lives of school children, residents and Holtec employees working on the site at great risk. Without mentioning the pipeline in the PSDAR, it is questionable whether Holtec is ready to perform its mission competently.
City of Cortlandt Supervisor-elected Richard becker agrees that the plan is inadequate and that highly radioactive waste and high pressure pipelines “are a potentially dangerous combination, and more proactive assessment is needed to separate these two activities”.
New York State Senator Pete harckham requested the closure of the AIM pipeline during decommissioning, but so far Enbridge, the owner of the pipeline, did not agree.
Others are not that worried. NRC spokesperson Neil sheehan explains that the commission “A team of experts examined its safety and determined that a pipeline rupture was unlikely and that even if it did, the plant would remain protected.”
Patrick o’brien, of Holtec / SNC–Lavalin‘s Full international decommissioning, says it does not intend to pass through the gas lines on site during the fuel transfer, but if it does, a steel plating will be laid on the line (s).
Oak Ridge National Laboratories is currently conducting an independent pipeline safety review at Indian Point. Tom congdon, executive assistant of the New York State Department of the Public Service, and president of the DDN, says he looks forward to the results so they can move forward with the safest plan possible.
David Lochbaum, a retired nuclear engineer and Date of BirthThe technical expert from, explains that the routine radioactivity releases from the factories being decommissioned represented on average 36% of the quantity released by the factories in operation. The amount of radioactivity released from operating plants is itself a small fraction of the amount allowed to be released under federal regulations.
“The threat to the public from routine airborne radiation emissions from Indian tip is considerably less than it was when the reactor (s) were in operation, ”he said.
One of the most disturbing aspects of the downgrade for parents is the plant’s proximity to three buildings in the Hendrick Hudson School District: Hendrick Hudson High School (1.4 km away), Frank G. Lindsey Elementary School (1.35 miles) and Buchanan-Verplanck Primary School (BV) (0.7 km).
Residents of Buchanan are concerned about the nuclear waste circulating on their local roads. Patrick o’brien stated that the transport of “low-level waste” from the site is in accordance with waste disposal practices when both nuclear units were in operation.
the the original route of the trucks is north on Broadway, east on Louisa Street, on Route 9. The road avoid Buchanan-Verplank Primary School, Buchanan Pool, Village park, and Village day camp.
Demolition of Safe Indian Point – which includes local influencers like Courtney M. Williams, parent, activist and co-founder of the Safe Energy Rights Group– created a list of security requirements.
They include state-of-the-art real-time contamination testing and monitoring, which will be reviewed by an independent scientist (not affiliated with NRC or Holtec), who will provide a daily positive affirmation of school safety during the demolition.
A back-up plan is also specified in the event that BV becomes contaminated / uninhabitable during demolition; restrict demolition to the summer months when schools are mostly empty; deep cleaning of schools after demolition activities; and shutting off the flow of natural gas lines while heavy machinery is operating above.
O’Brien assures us that the demolition of the installation will be performed “surgically, in accordance with federal and state standards, which includes our use of technology to ensure dust mitigation.” In addition, before buildings and structures are removed, they will be cleaned and removed from hazards such as asbestos, lead paint, and organic chemicals like PCBs.
Governor of New York Kathy hochulHendrick Hudson’s office recently sent $ 500,000 to the Hendrick Hudson School District to help cover the costs of radiation monitoring.
Carol abraham, Hendrick Hudson’s Board of Education Chairman, said tThe district will begin meeting with technical experts as soon as possible to discuss how best to use these funds to ensure that additional and individualized safety measures are taken at its five schools.
Indian Point Community Advisory Committee> indianpointcap.com
Demolition of Safe Indian Point> facebook.com/groups/safeipdemo
Safe Energy Rights Group> senrgorg.com
Caedra Scott-Flaherty is a writer living in Croton-on-Hudson. Find her on Caedra.com.