Thursday, July 9, 2009



The following is a story published last week in the Daily News about the recent ruling expected to eventually impact the use of closed cycle cooling at Indian Point. Two links to the article are included below.
Additional information at the end of the post in BOLD was provided by Phil Musegaas of Riverkeeper, and helps to understand this particular judicial process

Officials at the Indian Point nuclear power plant — which has been called responsible for killing more than a billion fish each year — will have to figure out another way to cool its giant heated steam turbines, a state court has ruled. The plant sucks in and returns more than 2.5 billion gallons of Hudson River water daily—2 million gallons per minute—in a system
that pulls in and kills fish, eggs, larvae and plant life. The hot water flushed back into the river is fatal to some 1.2 billion fish every year, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The cooling system doesn’t use radioactive water from the reactor core.
Last week, acting state Supreme Court Justice Gerald Connolly turned down plant owner Entergy’s bid to overturn a year-old DEC decision that faulted Indian Point’s water intake system for killing the fish. The judge said Entergy’s appeal was premature, stating: “Petitioner’s claims are not ripe for review by the Court at this time.” The ruling now gives the DEC the green light to push for a new cooling system that would reduce fish-killing water usage by 95% at the Westchester County plant. Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi said the court’s decision determines how the utility company will “ultimately obtain a water use permit that makes the most sense environmentally and economically for the area around Indian Point.”

Entergy has balked at the $1.4 billion price tag for the new cooling system. Nappi said the plant already has spent more than $100 million to protect fish by installing special screens to reduce the number of fish pulled inside. The DEC estimates a new cooling system would cost $740 million, and $145 million a year to run — or 5% to 6% of Entergy’s annual gross revenue.
Entergy makes more than $2 million a day — and more than $700 million a year — from electricity produced at Indian Point.
The court ruling was a victory for the DEC and the environmental group Riverkeeper, which have been waging court
battles with Entergy for years over the fish kill. Riverkeeper’s chief prosecutor is Robert Kennedy Jr. Indian Point, 24 miles outside the city, is applying to renew its operating license and keep running until 2035. If the license is renewed, Riverkeeper
and the DEC say, the power plant would be forced to build a cooling system if it wants to stay open. Hearings on the
new draft water-use permit for the plant, which would mandate closed-cycle cooling, are tentatively scheduled for next year. Nappi said Entergy is weighing an appeal of the court ruling.

According to Phil Musegaas of Riverkeeper the ruling impeded Entergy from slowing and complicating the process moving towards next year’s DEC hearing, when the state is expected to issue a final permit, which will require closed cycle cooling if Indian Point is re-licensed.

Musegaas said that he expects Entergy to appeal the ‘adverse impact’ ruling, along with any other rulings or conditions they don’t like after the final permit is issued, probably late 2010.