Enviros continue unnecessary demonization of nuclear at taxpayer’s expense

On April 25, 2023 the NYEA spoke at a public hearing of the Indian Point Decommissioning Board. The main topic of the night was Holtec’s plan to release water into the Hudson River as part of the Indian Point decommissioning process. As pointed out by Holtec this is already allowed by existing permits and has been done safely by previous plant operators for decades. However, “environmental” NGOs (most prominently Food and Water Watch but also Sloop Clearwater, The Sierra Club, and Riverkeeper) have jumped on this routine plan as another opportunity to attack nuclear energy. Their assertions have included:

  • Overblown concerns about the safety of the tritium in the water and the effect it could have on tourism, nature, and health 
  • Proposals of additional oversight and more expensive remediation (namely storage on site for decades) 
  • Technocratic nitpicking about how the discharge license was for an operational plant, not a closed plant (as if that changes anything about the water) 
  • Claiming it is Holtec’s corporate greed that makes them “cut corners” with this discharge plan in order to save a buck

Some even used this opportunity to continue their hypocritical attack against the Champlain Hudson Power Express transmission line, saying it would disturb the bottom of the Hudson and cause further pollution. 

The hypocritical content of these attacks reveals the anti-industrial nature of their source. The tritium has been discharged safely for years, and the radiation is much lower than what we are exposed to in our daily life or at a medical appointment. Permits can be reissued. And, as we point out in our statement, Holtec gets paid for whatever they do with the water; pour it into the river, hold it on site for decades, fire it into space, taxpayers will pay for it (it’s their whole business model). Whatever additional requirements Holtec is made to do, it will only be used as a precedent by these same groups to put further erroneous demands on future plants in the hopes of keeping them from even being built and not affect Holtec’s bottom line one bit.

Many also predictably brought up the numerous local, county, and state level representatives that have spoken out, and taken measures, against the discharge. All of these politicians are comfortable in the knowledge that new nuclear will not get built until the aforementioned NGO’s are overthrown, so get free brownie points by going against the “big bad company” with no downsides. 

Taken together, this should not be seen as a representation of the people’s will, but as a one win-win charade for everyone except the working people of New York. They are the ones left without reliable energy and without jobs, and they have to pay for the decommissioning. This whole process reveals yet again the lengths the anti-industrialists will go to achieve their policies in the name of the “environment.” The NGO’s should be ignored, the water should be discharged, and, most importantly, New York should focus on commissioning the cheap and reliable energy we all need to thrive.

Statement transcript:

Hello Indian Point DOB, NYS DPS, and fellow citizens, I am Brian Wilson with the New York Energy Alliance and thank you for the opportunity to speak tonight. I am here to comment on Holtec’s plan to discharge water from the Indian Point site into the Hudson and the general response to said plan. This process has degraded into a win-win charade for everyone except the working people of New York State.

For the quote-on-quote “environmental” NGO’s sounding the alarm and opposing this plan, this is just another chance to get their digs in against nuclear power while also trying to make it just that much harder to build another plant within the state. For Holtec, this just becomes another way to make money on the decommissioning of Indian Point. The water is going to be dealt with, and whatever ridiculous hoops they are made to jump through they are going to be paid for by you and I.

For politicians this becomes an easy photo op to go against the quote-on-quote big bad polluting corporation. They know a new nuclear plant will not be built in this state until the aforementioned obstructionist NGO’s are pushed out of power by labor and industry, so lose nothing in being against discharging the water.

The working people of NY, however, are only left with a lackluster and expensive theater performance. The decommissioning process should not be allowed to be bogged down by spotlight chasers trying to grab a megaphone. It should, instead, be executed in a reasonable and timely manner so that NY’s focus can switch from decommissioning to commissioning the cheap, plentiful, and reliable energy it needs for its industries and people to prosper.