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Future of Endangered Fish Species Subject to Decision on Nuclear Power Plants


Atlantic_SturgeonThe Federal Fisheries Service in White Plains, New York has released a statement that concludes continued operation of two suburban New York nuclear plants will have a detrimental effect on two different species of sturgeon, but the sturgeon is not expected to be wiped out entirely.

The document was prepared by the National Marine Fisheries at the request of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The commission is conducting hearings on whether Entergy Nuclear, Indian Point’s owner, should get 20-year license extensions.

During the extended lives of the plants, close to 1,000 shortnose sturgeon and Atlantic sturgeon would be killed, but this is only a small percentage of the stock.

Experts clarify that the deaths typically happen when the sturgeons are caught against water intake screens, but the decline in the population would not lead to ultimate extinction.

The commission also determined the warmer water that is discharged back into the river or from any radioactive elements escaping from the plants into the Hudson poses no threat.

Indian Point may switch to closed-cycle cooling, a request by New York state. This cooling uses less water and is safer for fish.

In 1998, experts estimated that there were 57,000 adult shortnose sturgeon living in the Hudson. The study predicts the numbers will continue to be stable for the 20-year license extension period.

However, the population of Atlantic sturgeon are sturgeon are believed to be much smaller than the shortnose, and the species was recently listed as endangered.

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