Radiation Leak At New York Nuclear Plant Might Be “Worse Than Fukushima”

“It’s a disaster waiting to happen and it should be shut down,” a spokesperson from a nuclear watchdog recommended.

Radiation leak at Indian Point nuclear power plant near New York might be worse than Fukushima, experts warn

Radiation is leaking from the Indian Point nuclear power plant near New York City into the Hudson River at an uncontrollable rate, according to Joseph Mangano, Executive Director of the Radiation and Public Health Project. 

Mangano says that cancers amongst workers and members of the public in the area are soaring at a disturbing rate, and has warned that the Indian Point leak may prove worse than the Fukushima disaster.

Activistpost.com reports:

The Indian Point nuclear plant is located on the Hudson River, approximately 25 miles North of NYC, and serves the electrical needs of an estimated 2 million people. Last month, while preparing a reactor for refueling, workers accidentally spilled some contaminated water, containing the radioactive hydrogen isotope tritium, causing a massive radiation spike in groundwater monitoring wells, with one well’s radioactivity increasing by as much as 65,000 percent.

Entergy, the Louisiana-based company that owns the plant, chalked up the readings to “fluctuations that can be expected as the material migrates.” According to Entergy, the tritium contaminated water spill was contained within the plant, and never reached the Hudson or any other water source.

“There is no impact to public health or safety,” Entergy spokeswoman Patricia Kakridas told RT.

Of course, the tritium leak is the ninth in just the past year, four of which were serious enough to shut down the reactors. But the most recent leak, however, according to an assessment by the New York Department of State as part of its Coastal Zone Management Assessment, contains a variety of radioactive elements such as strontium-90, cesium-137, cobalt-60, and nickel-63, and isn’t limited to tritium contamination.

Despite the assurances from Entergy, the area around Indian Point is a “cancer cluster,” with the local rate of thyroid cancer rates registering at 66 percent higher than the national average, according to Joseph Mangano, Executive Director of the Radiation and Public Health Project (RPHP).

According to a report by RT:

RPHP researchers compared the state and national cancer data from 1988-92 with three other five-year periods (1993-97, 1998-02, and 2003-07). The results, published in 2009, show the cancer rates going from 11 percent below the national average to 7 percent above in that timespan. Unexpected increases were detected in 19 out of 20 major types of cancer. Thyroid cancer registered the biggest increase, going from 13 percent below the national average to 51 percent above.

Incredibly, Entergy completely rejects the notion that their plant’s operations have caused an increase in cancer rates.

“There is no relation whatsoever,” Kakridas claimed.

When the study was conducted by RPHP, over 20 million people lived within a 50-mile radius of the nuclear plant.

“Everybody who lives near a nuclear plant is exposed to radiation. Some plants are worse than others,” Mangano told RT. In the case of Indian Point, it is a very old plant, and “there is a greater danger because of a large population living close by.”

Numerous environmental groups call the latest problems just a symptom of a much larger issue and Gov. Andrew Cuomo is partnering with organizations The Sierra Club, Riverkeepers, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, Scenic Hudson and Physicians for Social responsibility in seeking the permanent closure of the plant.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission sent a representative to the Indian Point plant, Neil Sheehan, who told CBS News that the NRC is continuing to review the recent tritium leakage at Indian Point.

“We recently sent a radiation protection specialist to the plant to assess the situation and learn more about what happened. He was assisted by our three Resident Inspectors assigned to the plant on a full-time basis,” he wrote in an email to CBS.

NRC is also currently reviewing Indian Point’s renewal license, which would authorize it to continue operating for another 20 years.

“It’s a disaster waiting to happen and it should be shut down,” Paul Gallay, president of Riverkeeper, a watchdog organization dedicated to protecting the Hudson River, told CBS News.

“The good news is, advances in alternate power sources, grid management and energy conservation have brought us to the day when the aging, unsafe Indian Point can close,” Gallay said.

He pointed out numerous sources of energy for the region, including 600 megawatts in transmission system upgrades and another 500 megawatts available through energy savings achieved through efficiency and renewable energy.

“There will be enough power to keep the lights on in our homes and hospitals, our businesses and schools — in every place that makes our communities healthy and vibrant,” Gallay said.

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer has rejected calls for the immediate closure of the nuclear power plant by Cuomo and environmental groups, saying they should first demonstrate how to replace the energy produced at the power plant, which supplies 25 percent of the power to the New York City area.

“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. In the meantime, I have emphasized very strong safety,” Schumer said.

While Schumer’s sentiments are understandable, the reality is that the sheer economic health costs of this plant’s operation far exceed the savings in energy bills. With so many alternative sources of producing clean energy, the reasoning for keeping such a toxic plant operational is baffling. One can safely assume that there is some vested financial interest in keeping this plant running; as always, simply follow the money.

  • Rod Kreinbrink

    We are not talking about 20 million people being affected here. We are talking about 1300 feet of the reactor core with radiation levels within a certain geographic area that could be affected by a heavy water spill. Lets keep things In perspective.

    • guestimate

      Why not just transition to thorium, it’s a lot safer, cheaper, more abundant and proven to work. Or better yet, over-unity or countless other inventions bought up and shelved by Standard Oil Trust/Big Oil Cartel thugs, who’ve kept US in thrall and dependent on dinosaur fuel for a century too long.

  • Mr.Microcurries

    So so many holes in this article… Gosh hard to even respond so many different fallacies and such lack of insight. First off the tritium spilled is minute. The reason that the tritium spiked to “65,000 percent” is because thier was almoust NONE their in the first place. Secondly it doesn’t matter percentage wise how much the tritium levels increace it matters how many curries or microcuries were released into the ground water. Thirdly the ammount of tritium was minute and from what i understand was under a currie. However even it it was a few curries rembber that every time you walk into a movie theature, airport, hospital, or even the food mart many places have…. you guessed it tritium lit exit signs. Each sign can contain around 25 curries YES CURRIES of tritium…. so if a movie theater has roughly 50 exit signs that over 1250 curries giveing off over 46250000000000 (46 trillion 250 billion) decays (giving off a radiation particle) PER SECOND!!!! and thats the same isotope that was spilled at this power plant. However MUCH much much less than 10 curries was spilled at this plant so is their really anything to actually worry about??? Finally the nuclear industry is not a dirty industry. They are actually the cleanest industry. Waste is generated from any industrial process from building wind turbines to refining oil. However in no other industry but nuclear is all of the waste captured and kept in drums labeled and sealed safely away in vaults. Please someone tell me any other method of power generation besides wind (which kills thousands of birds) and geothermal/hydro that captures all of the waste that they produce??? Nuclear is not only a safe option it is also the cleanest.

    • KaraK

      Hate to say this but since when is ANY nuclear radiation safe?? Get with it, do you work for this company?

      • Mr.Microcurries

        Actually I have no affiliation whatsoever to any nuclear power generation company. I am a student going to college and working on a masters degree in environmental engineering. However, this said it doesn’t take a college education to spend the time and review and learn about the extremely minute effects of low level radiation or to understand that the levels of contamination at Indian point are far far below the EPA limits and regulations. Please do not go along with the “its nuclear so it must be deadly and bad”. Its just not true. Here are a few more recent articles that may provide a different light on the subject…
        Nuclear power is much safer than all current continuous sources of power. Not only are there less work deaths per GW hr of power produced but also less cancer and health related deaths than from any other energy source. For example coal powered plants expose far more people to radiation (and through contamination (much worse rather than exposure from nuclear plants) ) than the nuclear industry….
        Please take the time to learn and realize that all is not quite what it seams. I love the environment and I am dedicating my life to help keep people safe from toxic chemicals and dangerous environments. I find it sad that people are scared of nuclear power because they simply do not take the time to understand it.
        Sorry for the long post and thanks for commenting 🙂

        • KaraK

          Fuki is more or less the one I am referring to that is and will affect this planet for a long time past our lives, flowing everyday in the ocean hitting our coastlines and residing anywhere it can travel via air or sea.

          • Mr.Microcurries

            And how many deaths did fukushema cause? I hope that you realize that in many cases Americans that went to help with the fukushema disaster received only about the same exposure as they would have gotten just living in the USA. Reason being? Japan has much lower background radiation that most of the USA. And they were working to clean up the contamination! Now I’m not saying everyone who works at Fukushima got that dose but I do know that they follow simalar if not more strict dose limits than we do in the USA. If you are interested in radiation I applaud you. I was interested in it to but I have done countless hours of research and it is now a hobby and may eventually become a job ( I want to work with remediation of radiological waste sites ) I have collected Geiger counters, gamma scintillators, and countless other devices to measure different types of radiation. I have toured around to nuclear power plants modern uranium mines, cities where they used to mine uranium, former nuclear weapon test sites, and many other locations. I talk to both the people who worked at the sites and residents that live their who are both for and against the issues and or what took place. I have had lengthy discussions with some of the head members of a number of different states cancer and tumor registery programs and numerous people who are experts on cleaning up radioactive waste sites. If you are interested take initiative like me. Go talk to locals, call the states leading experts and formulate your own opinion. I find this subject interesting and I’m working to share that with others. I hope that you keep an open mind and find the truth whatever it may be.

    • deenie1219

      You seem to be a troll in that you cherry pick the issues you want to discuss and leave out other ones that are harder to explain. For example, you side-skirted the issue of the higher than average number of cases of thyroid cancer. Also though coal power plants are very dirty and do produce tons of fly ash that is very toxic, it still doesn’t excuse this aging fossil that should be shut down. Nuke power and coal power both should be shut down, phased out, whatever, now.