Two remaining nuclear reactors at Indian Point will be closed down– one by April 2020 and the second by April 2021–in a major agreement reached by Governor Cuomo, the State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, Riverkeeper, and Entergy Corp., which owns the Indian Point plant. The parties are expected to sign the agreement this week.
According to Riverkeeper, the nonprofit environmental group that has battled to close down the plant for many years, “public opinion favors closing Indian Point as long as there’s enough replacement energy and electric rates don’t skyrocket.” Indian Point’s generating capacity is just over 2,000 megawatts, but today many experts believe new efficiencies, energy investments, and sources of renewable energy can readily meet the power demands if the reactors are closed, while costs to ratepayers would not substantially increase.
On November 21, 2016, the New York’s highest court ruled against Entergy whose application to the federal Nuclear regulatory Commission for a license for an additional 20 years has been held up pending a ruling by the court on the need for an environmental review by the state.
In its November decision, the Court of Appeals wrote: “Entergy’s current application for a license to operate the Indian Point nuclear reactors for an additional 20 years is a new federal action, involving a new project, with different impacts and concerns than were present when the initial environmental impact statements were issued over 40 years ago.”
Paul Gallay, president of Riverkeeper, noted, “This decision effectively stops the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from re-licensing Indian Point.” Indian Point’s two remaining operating reactors reached the end of their original 40-year operating licenses in September 2013 and December 2015.
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino blasted the new agreement on Friday, telling the Mamaroneck Daily Voice it was “potentially catastrophic” and a “secret deal” by Governor Cuomo. Astorino argued that the “likelihood of replacing that power is not good.” He accused Cuomo of “fear-mongering” and “politicking” according to the paper, and said that “the governor bailed out four upstate power plants with $10 billion in subsidies, but now will saddle downstate consumers and property owners with higher electric bills and more taxes.”
The New York Times reported on Friday that if replacement energy at a reasonable cost cannot be in place by 2020, the agreement provides for the reactors’ licenses to be extended a few more years until supplies and costs are controlled.
See our previous coverage for more details.