The NY State Department of Environmental Conservation denied a water permit for Indian Point, the nuclear power plant in Buchanan, NY, noting that two of the plant's cooling units "do not and will not comply with existing New York State water quality standards." (PDF of letter.) The permit is required for the plant to extend its federal license by 20 years. Entergy, which owns the plant, vows to appeal the ruling and points out the DEC's action is only a draft but environmental advocacy group Riverkeeper says, "This is a huge victory for citizens of the tri-state area, and a devastating blow for Entergy."
The NY Times explains, "The ruling concerned the cooling system at Indian Point Units 2 and 3, which were commissioned in the early 1970s. (Indian Point 1 was shut down in 1974.) Both take in enormous volumes of river water — a combined 2.5 billion gallons a day, or more than twice the average daily water consumption of all of New York City — and use it to create steam for turbines and to cool the reactors. The water is then pumped back into the Hudson, 20 or 30 degrees hotter." The intake system "traps and kills eggs, larvae and young fish in the river, including the endangered shortnose sturgeon and the federally protected Atlantic sturgeon," according to the Times Herald-Record.
Indian Point provides power to 2 million homes in Westchester County and NYC. Its critics say that it can build more state-of-the art cooling units for $200-300 million, but an Entergy spokesman says better cooling towers would cost $1 billion and take 15 years for approval. Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester), who has fought against the plant, said, "This is finally the definitive ruling about the massive destruction Indian Point has caused for the river. This is the beginning of the end of this massive destruction of the river."
Recently, there has been talk that Entergy will try to sell the plant.