NY State Announces Steps To 'Safely Close' Indian Point Nuclear Power Facility

New York is moving forward with its plan to dismantle and decommission the Indian Point nuclear power facility in the Hudson Valley.

A deal has been made to clean up and decommission Indian Point in the Hudson Valley.
A deal has been made to clean up and decommission Indian Point in the Hudson Valley. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a joint proposal on Thursday, April 15 with Holtec International and its subsidiaries to "safely close Indian Point” located in Buchanan, in Northern Westchester near the Putnam County border.

In 2017, Entergy - the owner of Indian Point - agreed to close the last two operating units at the Indian Point site, with Unit 2 powering down in April last year and Unit 3 set to cease operation this month.

According to officials “decommissioning, the radiological clean-up and dismantling of a nuclear facility, is extremely demanding, both technically and financially.”

The agreement was negotiated between the state, Westchester County, local governments, Public Utility Law Project, Riverkeeper, Entergy, and Holtec. It is now available for public comment and will be reviewed by the State Public Service Commission during a future session.

Once approved by the Public Service Commission, Holtec will take over ownership of the power plant and responsible for the clean-up work.

Under the agreement, Holtec will keep at least $400 million in a decommissioning trust fund for at least a decade, with half of the money it gets from the Department of Energy for spent fuel management costs being placed into that fund.

Of the approximately $2.4 billion of aggregated decommissioning trust funds, Holtec estimated that it will spend more than $630 million for spent fuel management alone.

That raised concerns about whether the remaining funds were adequate to conduct safe and comprehensive decommissioning at a site known to harbor substantial contamination, officials noted.

“Since my time as Attorney General I have been deeply concerned with the safety of the Indian Point nuclear power facility given its proximity to the most densely populated area in the country," Cuomo said.

"Shuttering Indian Point was, at one time, one of the main progressive causes in New York, and after years of relentless work, we've finally reached an agreement to close it safely and responsibly. This is a victory for the health and safety of New Yorkers, and moves us a big step closer to reaching our aggressive clean energy goals."

Under the agreement, Holtec must also adhere to financial and administrative provisions, including:

  • Conduct site restoration and remediation under an order on consent with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which will oversee the hazardous materials cleanup at Indian Point, including through the use of an on-site monitor; 
  • Providing funding towards state and local emergency management and response; and 
  • Providing financial and project reporting to the State and the public through a website and other channels to ensure transparency regarding project status and costs. 

"Today marks a milestone in the State's sustained efforts to shut down Indian Point," New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos added. "It's a victory for public safety and the millions of New Yorkers living in the shadow of this aging facility. 

"As New York State continues its transition to a safer, renewable green energy future, it's imperative that we work together to ensure the swift and safe dismantling and decommissioning of this facility." 

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