The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has agreed to extend the public comment period for the pending license transfer of the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan from Entergy to Holtec Decommissioning International for an additional two months.
Entergy and Holtec submitted a license transfer application to the NRC 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 NRC last week granted a request made by U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY-17) in a November letter to give residents and other interested parties until March 25 to make their feelings known on the change at Indian Point.
“We made it clear to the NRC that 30 days is simply not enough time for the thousands of Lower Hudson Valley residents, plant employees, union workers, local businesses, elected officials and all other key local stakeholders to carefully review the dense, technical, 300-page license transfer documentation that will prove to be a crucial step in determining how the decommissioning of Indian Point will be executed,” Schumer stated. “These stakeholders have had Indian Point in their community for over 50 years and they will be both directly and indirectly impacted by the NRC’s decision on the decommissioning of Indian Point.”
“This license transfer will dramatically impact the entire Lower Hudson Valley and change the lives of those living near Indian Point,” Lowey said. “It’s vital the NRC take their opinions into consideration, and I’m pleased it heeded our call to increase the time for all local officials, residents, and stakeholders to voice their concerns. This decision is simply far too important to be rushed, and I will continue to make sure local fears and concerns are heard and addressed.”
Lawmakers are still awaiting word from the NRC regarding another request for a public hearing to take place before any action is taken to approve transferring the NRC license for Indian Point from Entergy to Holtec.
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. The first unit is set to stop operating this spring.
Meanwhile, Westchester County Executive George Latimer announced last week that Holtec had agreed to attend a forum before the Westchester County Board of Legislators, likely to be held within the next 30 to 45 days.
“There has been a great desire from the general public, and from elected officials both those in the immediate area of Indian Point and officials from all other communities in the county to know who is Holtec,” Latimer said. “[We want to know] what is their vision for the deconstruction of the plant and what is their past experience doing it. We wanted to create a county-wide forum to do that. Our request, and we appreciate the fact that they responded positively right away, will be in the center part of our county because we think the issues involving Indian point are not centralized but rather all over the place.”