Could Indian Point Be Shut Down By 2021?

The future of our backyard power plant is up in the air

It appears that a deal to shut down the Indian Point nuclear power plant by April 2021 is underway, according to reports from The New York Times and The Daily News. The alleged agreement between New York State and Entergy, the utility company that owns the facility, states that one of the two reactors in Buchanan will permanently cease operations by April 2020, and the second must close by 2021.

Despite these reports, Richard Azzopardi, a spokesperson from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, says, “There is no agreement.”

“Governor Cuomo has been working on a possible agreement for 15 years and until it’s done, it’s not done,” he said. “Close only counts for horseshoes, not for nuclear plants.”

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The statement is not entirely definitive, and Cuomo has been on record calling for the closure of Indian Point for years. The NY Times reports that negotiations between Entergy and the Cuomo administration began in early December.

Under the agreement, Entergy will be committed to making repairs and safety upgrades, such as transferring spent fuel to a safer storage system, as well as allowing safety inspections starting this year, something the Cuomo administration has demanded for some time.

Additionally, the state and Riverkeeper, an environmental nonprofit allegedly participating in the deal, will drop safety and environmental claims against Indian Point previously filed with regulatory agencies. 

Entergy has also agreed to establish a new emergency operations center in Fishkill, and to create a $15 million fund to finance environmental protection projects, with an obligation to consult Riverkeeper regularly.

The office of state attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman was also included in the deal and has allegedly signed off on it. However, the Times reports that Cuomo’s office will wait until Monday to sign.

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Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan brings Westchester and New York City about 25 percent of its electric power, and pays upwards of $30 million in state and local property taxes a year, according to Entergy. Replacing the energy produced by Indian Point could cost New Yorkers more than $1 billion a year in higher energy prices.

We should find out the fate of our next-door neighbor soon; Cuomo is scheduled to deliver the third of six regional State of the State speeches in Westchester on Tuesday.

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