Westchester Citizens Awareness Network
Strontium 90 Found in Hudson River Fish
Call for Governor Spitzer to Suspend Discharge Permit of Indian Point Reactors Test results showing Strontium 90 in fish taken from around IndianPoint opens the possibility that recreational users of the river suchas fishermen, boaters and swimmers may also be absorbing radioactive isotopes. The findings are especially troubling since current studies by the National Academy of Science revel that standards for exposure to radiation are set far too high for the most vulnerable members of the community; children and women of child bearing age. Strontium 90 is a bone seeking radioactive isotope which actually replaces calcium in bones. It can be ingested from contaminated water and passed through breast milk which makes it particularly dangerous for babies.
Entergy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have insisted for yearsthat radioactive particles routinely or accidentally discharged intothe river are not harmful to the public since the sheer volume of water in the Hudson River dilutes radioactive waste to a standard below regulatory concern. As a result the NRC allows each reactor to dump 12 million gallons of water contaminated with radioactive isotopes into the river annually. Since there are two reactors, this is a 24 million gallon permitted discharge. These standards were set over 40 years ago and are urgently in need of revision in light of current research.
There has been much talk of SR 90 as background radiation found in contaminated fish. However, the Department of Health's 1994 Environment Radiation Report in New York State clearly states that background radiation from atmospheric testing continues to show a slow decline. Neither does it find Strontium 90 in fish samples taken from the Hudson River at that time. The raw data from 2005 is consistent with this finding.
The new findings about radioactive contamination of fish captured near the plant makes it imperative that the Governor suspend the state discharge license granted to Entergy by the Department of Environmental Conservation. The River is a public resource and public health policy requires erring on the side of safety when there is any possibility of danger to people.
The Department of Environmental Conservation has already ruled that Indian Point is a threat to the ecosystem of the Hudson River because of the thermal pollution it generates on a daily basis. The current radiological threat, which potentially poses a grave danger of cancer and birth defects to humans, makes it clear that it is not prudent to allow any discharge from the plant into the river until it can be ascertained with certainty that there is no threat to public health.
In light of this new finding and the imminent threat to public healthwhich it poses, we call upon Governor Spitzer to order the immediatesuspension of the state discharge permit granted to Entergy pending a thorough examination of the Hudson River shoreline and sediment to determine the extent of radioactive contamination and its long term effect on human health.