A joint agreement has been reached between the State of New York, Entergy, Holtec and other stakeholders to provide for the transfer of the Indian Point nuclear power plant to Holtec for decommissioning and site remediation. It also resolves pending litigation concerning the post-shutdown transfer of plant licences when the final unit at the site shuts down later this month.
Entergy Corporation agreed in April 2019 to sell the Indian Point Energy Center to Holtec International for expedited decommissioning and dismantling of the plant after the closure of the last operating unit at the site. The Joint Proposal that has now been agreed by subsidiaries of Entergy and Holtec, along with the New York State Department of Public Service Staff, the New York State Office of the Attorney General, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and other stakeholders, sets out financial, administrative and other provisions relating to the decommissioning work and also resolves ongoing legal proceedings concerning the proposed post-shutdown transfer of the plant to Holtec’s subsidiaries.
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) had in November 2020 approved Entergy and Holtec’s application to transfer the plant’s operating licences, post-shutdown, to Holtec but the state of New York filed a lawsuit challenging that decision. As part of the Joint Proposal, the State of New York, Riverkeeper, the Town of Cortlandt and the Hendrick Hudson School District will withdraw their lawsuits against the NRC, currently pending in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
“The difficult but necessary decision we made four years ago to shut down the safely and securely operated Indian Point Energy Center was hardest on our dedicated and professional employees,” Entergy Chairman and CEO Leo Denault said. “We are pleased to have reached a comprehensive and equitable agreement relative to the prompt decommissioning of Indian Point with the many stakeholders who were involved in the process,” he added.
Holtec President and CEO Kris Singh said the company was “pleased to have found common ground and reached consensus” on an agreement that supports the prompt, safe, and efficient decommissioning of Indian Point. “This Joint Proposal provides for additional financial assurance, oversight as well as environmental protections that serve to mitigate risk and protect the interests of the local communities and citizens of New York,” he said.
The parties to the Joint Proposal recommend that the New York Public Service Commission adopts the proposal and approves the post-shutdown transfer of Indian Point from Entergy to Holtec. Entergy and Holtec have requested a that a decision on the proposal is reached in May.
Indian Point 3 – the last remaining operating unit at the site on the Hudson River, about 24 miles (39 kilometres) from New York City – is a pressurised water reactor with a net generating capacity of 1030 MWe and began commercial operation in 1976. It is scheduled to close by the end of this month. Unit 2 permanently closed in April 2020 after more than 45 years of operation. Indian Point 1 – a 257 MWe (net) pressurised water reactor – operated from 1962 until 1974.
Holtec plans to begin the decommissioning process at Indian Point promptly upon taking ownership and expects to release most of the site for re-use by the 2030s.