The Northern Westchester Examiner

First of Two Remaining Nuclear Reactors to Shut Down at Indian Point

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Without any scheduled fanfare, one of the two operating nuclear power reactors at Indian Point in Buchanan will permanently shut down on April 30.

Unit 2 has been generating power for Westchester County and New York City since 1974. Unit 3, which came on board in 1976, is scheduled to stop operating in April 2021. Unit 1 has been offline since 1974.

In January 2017, Entergy, which purchased the Indian Point nuclear power plants more than 16 years ago, announced, to the complete surprise of local leaders, its plan for the early and orderly shutdown of the Indian Point by April 30, 2021 as part of a settlement with New York State and Riverkeeper.

Since that time, local leaders have been putting their heads together in an effort to plan for the financial hit municipalities, the Hendrick Hudson School District and other entities will suffer after the $32 million revenue stream from Indian Point runs dry.

Hendrick Hudson is preparing for the largest jolt, $24 million, which represents 33% of its annual budget. The Village of Buchanan is set to lose 46% ($4 million) of its budget. The Town of Cortlandt will experience an $800,000 shortfall, Westchester County $4 million, the Verplanck Fire District $372,703 (64% of its budget) and the Hendrick Hudson Free Library $394,110 (28%).

An estimated 1,100 permanent jobs will also be lost at the 240-acre site, although some workers may be retained during the decommissioning process.

Indian PointEntergy and Holtec submitted a license transfer application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on November 21, 2019. This would facilitate a change in ownership of the plant from Entergy to Holtec, once Indian Point is completely shut down in 2021. Holtec would then carry out all of the activities to decommission the plant, store the spent nuclear fuel, and restore the site to its original condition. The decommissioning is expected to take about 15 years.

Federal, state, county and area officials have voiced concerns about whether Holtec has sufficient resources to safely complete the decommissioning, Holtec’s plans for safety measures during the decommissioning, whether or not money in the Decommissioning Trust Fund is adequate to support the cost of decommissioning, and issues regarding the long-term health, safety and environmental monitoring on the site.

Earlier this month, Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland), Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, said a recent report by the NRC Indian Point Expert Evaluation Team reflects concerns she and her constituents raised starting in October 2015 and substantiates many of the claims made in the NRC Inspector General (IG)’s February 2020 inquiry.

The Expert Evaluation Team’s report on the concerns pertaining to the Algonquin Incremental Market pipeline’s proximity to Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC) found that Entergy and the NRC made “optimistic assumptions” in analyzing the risk of the natural gas transmission pipeline. The team concluded the reactors would remain safe even if the pipeline were to rupture. The report also found that Entergy should do further analysis and that NRC processes and practices hindered cooperation and communication between and among agencies.

“With the spread of the coronavirus throughout the Lower Hudson Valley, our community is focused on protecting our loved ones and saving lives,” said Lowey. “We can do that while continuing to ensure all operations and projects related to Indian Point Energy Center and its decommissioning do not put the surrounding communities at risk. I hope the past five years have taught the NRC that it should listen to stakeholders, because the Indian Point community’s concerns were valid.”

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