Entergy announced last week it had reached a deal to sell the Indian Point nuclear power plants in Buchanan to a privately held energy technology company for decommissioning after the facility stops operating in 2021.
The sale includes the transfer of the licenses, spent fuel, decommissioning liabilities and Nuclear Decommissioning Trusts for Indian Point Units 1, 2 and 3 and is expected to speed up the decommissioning process.
In addition, Holtec International has agreed to hire many of the more than 1,000 employees currently working at Indian Point “whose services are required for that phase of decommissioning.”
“The sale of Indian Point to Holtec is expected to result in the completion of decommissioning decades sooner than if the site were to remain under Entergy’s ownership,” said Entergy Chairman and Chief Executive Leo Denault. “With its deep experience and technological innovations, Holtec’s ability to decommission Indian Point will benefit stakeholders in the surrounding community.”
On January 9, 2017, a secret agreement between Entergy, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Riverkeeper was revealed. Under the pact, Indian Point Unit 2 will cease operations as early as April 2020 and Unit 3 in April 2021. However, an emergency provision is included that could give Entergy an additional four years of service in the event of war, a sudden increase in electrical demand or a sudden shortage of electric energy. Entergy officials have said that scenario is unlikely.
Units 2 and 3 at Indian Point generate approximately 2,000 megawatts of electricity for homes, business and public facilities in New York City and Westchester County. This represents approximately 25 percent of the electric power used in the region.
Buchanan is set to lose $4 million, or 46% of its operating funds, while the Hendrick Hudson School District will be suffering a $24 million hit, or 33% of its budget. Cortlandt will lose $800,000 annually, which represents two percent of its budget. In addition, the Verplanck Fire Department will lose 64% of its budget and the Hendrick Hudson Free Library will be shortchanged 28%.
Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker said last week’s announcement should serve as a wakeup call for those who were skeptical about Indian Point closing.
“This announcement is a reality check for those that still don’t believe Indian Point Energy Center is closing. This is happening,” Knickerbocker stated. “Very sad for the local communities. Entergy was a good corporate neighbor. The announcement is good timing for the recently formed Citizens Advisory Panel of which I am the Chairwoman and Supervisor (Linda) Puglisi is the Vice Chair to include this as one of our topics for our first meeting. The Panel will be working through all aspects of the Decommissioning.”
“Pleased to see that an experienced International company such as Holtec will be taking on the Decommissioning,” she continued. “They have extensive experience with used spent nuclear fuel. Entergy is in the business of producing energy, not decommissioning. With Holtec, this gives our communities hope that the decommissioning can be done quicker and the property can be returned for redevelopment sooner, which of course is critical for our tax base. Also, Entergy currently uses the spent fuel storage casks that are manufactured by Holtec.”
Deb Milone, president of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce, said Entergy’s announcement was welcomed news.
“The Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce shares the community’s concern about the economic void and uncertainty the shutdown of Indian Point will bring. This step by Entergy to engage Holtec International will bring a measure of certainty and hasten the reuse of the Indian Point site which is vital to stabilizing the local tax base,” she stated. “It is welcome news that Holtec has pledged to hire as many current Entergy employees as possible for the decommissioning. HVGCC looks forward to working with Entergy, Holtec, Buchanan and the Hendrick Hudson School District on the decommissioning plan and promoting a redevelopment plan for the site.”
The transaction closing between Entergy and Holtec, which must be approved by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), is targeted for the third quarter of 2021. Holtec is expected to submit its Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report and Site-Specific Decommissioning Cost Estimate to the NRC in the fourth quarter of this year.
With the acquisition of Indian Point, Holtec’s fleet will grow to six reactors at four nuclear facilities and an independent spent fuel storage installation, located in New York, New Jersey, Michigan and Massachusetts.
“Holtec will execute the decommissioning of Indian Point with the same culture of excellence that has undergirded our company’s ascent to a first-tier nuclear technology firm,” said Dr. Kris Singh, President & CEO of Holtec International. “Our industry leading expertise and deep experience permit us to complete decommissioning at Indian Point decades sooner than if Entergy remained the owner and performed decommissioning itself. The potential for the site to be released decades sooner for redevelopment could deliver significant benefits to local community stakeholders and the local economy.”
Rick has more than 40 years’ experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, running the gamut from politics and crime to sports and human interest. He has been an editor at Examiner Media since 2012. Read more from Rick’s editor-author bio here. Read Rick’s work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/pezzullo_rick-writer/