ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — New legislation could prohibit radioactive chemicals from being disposed into state waters. The bill was created when an energy technology company by the name of Holtec announced their plans of releasing radioactive water into the Hudson River before fall. This is part of the company’s plans to decommission the Indian Point Power Plant, located just north of New York City.
“The big picture is we’ve got to end this policy of using our rivers as a convenient waste dump for industrial waste,” said Senator Peter Harckham, who sponsors the legislation. In speaking with out Capitol Correspondent, Amal Tlaige one issue with the disposed water is that it contains radioactive isotope, tritium which is difficult to filter out of water. The disposal of tritium however would be within federal regulations which Harckham takes issue with. “The federal levels for tritium were established decades and decades ago, and many medical professionals feel that they are no longer safe at the levels that the federal government uses,” he said.
But Patrick O’Brien, a spokesperson for Holtec said the public is misinformed about tritium, “It comes down from the cosmos it is in naturally in water, on the soil, it’s just such a low level.. radiations is in everyone’s everyday lives.” O’Brien said studies show there is no impact on drinking water around the Hudson, and tritium has a short half life.
But Tracy Brown, President and Hudson Riverkeeper at River Keeper said no amount of radioactive discharge should be tolerated in our waterways, “And we do have radioactive materials in our environment now that already build up a baseline in our bodies, so it really is the cumulative impact that needs to be considered, and also impact on our most vulnerable residents.” Advocates of the bill are suggesting other methods of disposal, such as storing it and letting it sit, to allow its half life to be removed.