Indian Point and the Local Environment

We are extremely sensitive to maintaining the health and beauty of our local environment-the land, air and water.

Preserving Our Air

Nuclear power is one of the cleanest sources of energy. Indian Point emits zero greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, the gases which have been linked to global warming.

Replacing the 2,000 megawatts of energy that Indian Point provides, with fossil-fueled plants, such as natural gas or coal, would dramatically increase emissions into the atmosphere and the surrounding environment because it requires a fleet of new power plants and/or transmission lines strewn throughout the region. Environmental impact studies also show that replacing Indian Point's power with fossil-fuel based plants will likely create a rise in carbon dioxide emissions, a 19% jump in nitrous oxide emissions, and an 11% hike in sulfur dioxide emissions.

According to the American Lung Association (ALA), research has shown that communities in the vicinity of coal-fired power plants have a higher incidence of respiratory illness-including asthma-than areas more removed from these pollution sources. And, high levels of NOx are linked to increased susceptibility to respiratory infections, especially among children. In its annual State of the Air Report, the ALA continually gives poor air quality grades and “at risk” labels to counties in the Lower Hudson Valley, including New York City.

Protecting Our Water

The Hudson River
While Indian Point's location on the Hudson River is crucial for the operation of the plant, the owners also understand the value of the Hudson as a natural treasure and local environmental and preservationist resource. -and we undertake all of the appropriate measures to protect it.

Indian Point has:

  • Spent nearly $100 million to develop and implement new technologies to protect fish populations in the Hudson River
  • Made a yearly contribution of approximately $100,000 to the Hudson River Fund, amounting to more than $6 million in donated funds. These contributions help the Hudson River Foundation finance scientific research on how to best protect the river from pollution
  • Ensured that, of more than $50 million in donated funds, over $25 million of that has been given to the New York State Department for Environmental Conservation (DEC) to conduct independent research on the Hudson River

Our efforts on this behalf have created results. A senior DEC official has called the results of this research the “best set of fisheries data on the planet,” and fisheries biologists determined that Indian Point does not adversely impact Hudson River adult fish populations.

“Today, the Hudson River is one of the richest bodies of water in the North Atlantic. There is more biomass per gallon and more fish per acre than in any body of water in the North Atlantic.”
Robert F. Kennedy, Riverkeeper, 2002 and 2006

It is important to note that although Indian Point uses water from the Hudson River to cool other water inside the plant, at no time during the cooling process does water from the Hudson come in contact with radiation, radioactive material, or any other contaminant. Water used at Indian Point is closely monitored and sampled throughout the year to ensure cleanliness. After temperatures are reduced to safe levels, the water is returned to the river via a huge discharge canal which meets federal and state environmental protection standards.

Learn more about water quality safety at Indian Point.

Caring for Our Fish Populations

Fish protection systems use specifically-designed underwater screens to prevent fish as small as a finger from entering the plant in the water that is used for cooling. The screens slowly rotate to ensure that young fish caught near them are transported to a device that safely returns the fish to the river away from the water intake structures.

At certain times of the year, fish larvae and eggs can enter the plant's outermost cooling system through the fish protection screens. Water flow at Indian Point is reduced during spring months to optimize fish spawning conditions. Studies conducted during the last 25 years demonstrate that the relatively small number of larvae and eggs that enter the plant have no impact on the Hudson River's overall fish population. In fact, fish populations are on the rise. The vast majority of fish and larvae die of natural causes. Studies have also shown that slightly increased water temperatures do not adversely affect fish in the Hudson River. There is no proven relationship between warm water and increasing or decreasing fish populations.

Indian Point and other Hudson River power plants ran a multi-million dollar fish hatchery from 1981 to 1991. The hatchery was used to add 600,000 striped bass fingerlings to the Hudson River per year, increasing the overall population of the striped bass by millions. Today, statistics show that the number of fish species in the Hudson is greater than ever before, including a 20-fold increase in striped bass.