Westchester County Unanimously Passes Resolution Against Dumping Radioactive Water in the Hudson River

County becomes the first Hudson Valley municipality to oppose Holtec International proposal

Published Mar 7, 2023


Clean Water

County becomes the first Hudson Valley municipality to oppose Holtec International proposal

County becomes the first Hudson Valley municipality to oppose Holtec International proposal

White Plains, NY – Last night, the Westchester Board of Legislators unanimously voted in favor of a resolution opposing the dumping of radioactive wastewater into the Hudson River. The County is the first municipality in New York to oppose Holtec International’s proposal; additional resolutions are expected throughout the Hudson River watershed.

Holtec International, the company in charge of decommissioning the Indian Point Nuclear Plant, wants to dump one million gallons of toxic wastewater from the plant’s spent fuel pools into the Hudson River. The company’s waste has several contaminants including tritium, a radioactive isotope that can lead to cancer when inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin in large quantities.

“Holtec’s plan to dump radioactive water into the Hudson River is ludicrously dangerous. Westchester County is the first municipality to oppose the idea, but it certainly won’t be the last,” said Santosh Nandabalan, Senior New York Organizer with Food & Water Watch. “Governor Hochul must know that the buck stops with her with corporate polluters here in New York. The Governor must listen to Westchester and stop Holtec from poisoning our environment and health by dumping its toxic waste into our drinking water.”

“The Hudson River is already the country’s largest Superfund site. It is time that we stopped letting corporate greed saddle us with harmful pollution. Holtec’s business model is to profit from putting us at risk. I hope this resolution sends a clear message to the Decommissioning Oversight Board, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Department of Environmental Conservation: We will no longer sacrifice our health, our safety, and our river for corporate greed,” said Courtney M. Williams, PhD a cancer researcher and co-founder of Safe Energy Rights Group.

“We believe that Governor Hochul and the New York State Decommissioning Board, at the very least, can store these 1M gallons on site while the best possible solution for disposal is decided,” said Marie Inserra from United for Clean Energy. “Human health and safety are the top priority, not Holtec’s profit margins.” 

“Residents county-wide are grateful that our Westchester County Board of Legislators took a strong position and unanimously passed the resolution opposing Holtec’s dumping of radioactive wastewater into the Hudson River,” said Susan Van Dolsen, co-organizer of Westchester for Change. “After many years of fighting to clean up the Hudson River, it is now used for boating, fishing and recreation and provides drinking water for seven municipalities. We here in Westchester treasure our water resources and know that this proposal is completely unacceptable. All of our elected officials, including Governor Hochul, must stand united against this proposal.”

“Stopping the dumping of this contaminated water protects the Hudson, but we have over 300 students and staff at Buchanan-Verplanck Elementary School only 4000 feet from the reactors. If Holtec would dump a million gallons of contaminated water, what shortcuts will they take with the health of our kids? Governor Hochul needs to use the power of her office to protect our kids,” Kristin Irwin, member of Safe Indian Point Demolition, a group focused on safety of students and staff in the Hendrick Hudson School District.

“Grassroots Environmental Education commends the Westchester County Board of Legislators for their strong leadership by passing this resolution opposing the discharge of radioactive wastewater from the Indian Point nuclear site into the Hudson River.  Our county legislators heeded the public health experts who strongly warned that there is no safe dose of radiation and that cumulative harmful effects to the public could result, with developing fetuses, children and women at the greatest risk,” said Ellen Weininger, Director of Educational Outreach at Grassroots Environmental Education.

“Thank you to the Westchester County Legislature for recognizing that past practice of discharging treated but still highly radioactive water into the Hudson River is no justification for discharging more tritiated water into a river from which seven communities take their drinking water and many people fish, swim and recreate.  The Hudson continues to be burdened with PCBs, PFOS and many other contaminants, which can have cumulative impacts.  Let’s utilize the precautionary principle and find the best possible solution for onsite storage.  We hope others will join them,” added Manna Jo Greene, Environmental Action Director for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.

Contact: Phoebe Galt, [email protected]

Press Contact: Phoebe Galt [email protected]