They are concerned about the clean-up plans for the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which is across the Hudson River from Rockland County.
The lawmakers told the NRC they were concerned about Holtec’ lack of experience. They also expressed concern that the available funding is not adequate to insure completion of the job. They joined other local and state elected officials in requesting the NRC hold a public hearing before deciding.
The letter strongly urges the NRC to reject the sale of the plant by its current owner,Entergy Nuclear Northeast, to Holtec International, the New Jersey-based company that says it can decommission the plant and restore the site in 12 to 15 years. Holtec officials visited the community around Indian Point in January to discuss their plans.
The letter was signed by Legislature Chair Alden Wolfe, Vice Chair Aney Paul, Majority Leader Jay Hood, Deputy Majority Leader Phil Soskin, and legislators Michael Grant, Itamar Yeger, Toney L. Earl, Harriet Cornell, and Aron Wieder.
Cornell, who chaired Rockland Citizens’ Committee To Close Indian Point, said the region’s residents and the local environment, including Hudson River aquatic life, require a proper cleanup to insure the good health of future generations.
Indian Point Energy Center is a three-unit nuclear power plant station on the Hudson River in Westchester County. The Protective Action Areas for the center, including potential evacuation zones, includes about half of Rockland County.
Indian Point Unit 1 opened in 1962. Unit 2 opened in 1974, and Unit 3 opened in 1976. The Unit 1 reactor was permanently shut down in 1974.
Opposition to the continued operation of the reactors swelled over time. In 2017, its current owner reached agreements with New York State and the Riverkeeper environmental organization to end lawsuits and shut down: Unit 2 by April of 2020 and Unit 3 by April 2021.
“It has taken more than 40 years of effort by dedicated watchdogs – from public officials to everyday citizens – to get this dangerous facility shut down and we are not going to back off the final phase of the effort, which is a proper decommissioning and site restoration,” Wolfe said.
There is now $2.1 billion in the trust fund that the plant’s builders (Consolidated Edison and the New York Power Authority) were required by federal law to create and that Entergy had to augment for future decommissioning purposes. It is partially financed by ratepayers through their electric bills.
Holtec has estimated the cleanup will cost $2.3 billion. Company officials said interest will accrue during the decommissioning process.
“A nuclear power plant’s by-products present very serious clean-up challenges,” Cornell said. “We need to exercise extreme care in developing a proper decommissioning plan, as well as a rehabilitation plan for the future use of the site.”
“Indian Point is in one of the most densely populated metropolitan areas in the countryand our constituents deserve full transparency and a commitment to safety first,” the legislators wrote in their letter to the NRC.
“We strongly urge the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to reject Entergy’s proposed sale to Holtec International,” the lawmakers wrote. “The handling of a project of this magnitude should be awarded to a reputable and experienced company that will safeguard the concerns of our residents and the environment.”
They want the public in Rockland County to have access to the plans for handling the spent radioactive fuel, site clean-up and the future use of the location, stating that, “It’s imperative that the residents on both sides of the Hudson River, in Westchester and Rockland Counties, are involved in the discussion.”
The most recent meeting of the Indian Point Closure Task Force, formed in 2017, was Jan. 30 in Cortlandt.
There is also a public comment period about the sale to Holtec. It has been extended to March 25. Anyone may submit comments to the NRC by any of the following methods:
- Federal Rulemaking Website: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2020-0021. Address questions about NRC docket IDs in Regulations.gov to Jennifer Borges; telephone: 301-287-9127; email: Jennifer.Borges@nrc.gov. For technical questions, contact the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document.
- Email comments to: Hearing.Docket@nrc.gov. If you do not receive an automatic email reply confirming receipt, then contact us at 301-415-1677.
- Fax comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission at 301-415-1101.
- Mail comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, ATTN: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff.
- Hand deliver comments to: 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. (Eastern Time) Federal workdays; telephone: 301-415-1677.