by Claire Bernish, Activist Post:
Buchanan, NY — Intensely controversial Indian Point nuclear power plant will completely cease operations by 2021, but the move to shutter operations on the facility — located just 25 miles north of New York City — has itself stirred contention.
Legal and environmental battles have raged for years over Indian Point, which supplies nearly one-third of the energy generation for the metropolis and has — in recent times, at least, officially — one of the best track records of any nuclear plant in the U.S.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has for years fought to shut down Indian Point — which he has called a “ticking time bomb” — both for its proximity to a sprawling urban populace and for the plant’s disputable safety record. Announcing the coming closure, Cuomo stated this week,
For 15 years, I have been deeply concerned by the continuing safety violations at Indian Point, especially given its location in the largest and most densely populated metropolitan region in the country. I am proud to have secured this agreement with Entergy to responsibly close the facility 14 years ahead of schedule to protect the safety of all New Yorkers. This administration has been aggressively pursuing and incentivizing the development of clean, reliable energy, and the state is fully prepared to replace the power generated by the plant at a negligible cost to ratepayers.
Wind power will be the governor’s primary focus, but that sufficient clean energy infrastructure to replace the two gigawatts of power produced at Indian Point isn’t yet in place has brought the eminent shuttering of the nuclear facility into question by both the industry and, surprisingly, even some environmental advocates.
Entergy, which operates Indian Point, will now be able to renew expired licenses to keep the plant functioning until the two remaining reactors — the original Unit 1 ceased operation in 1974 — go offline for good. Indian Point Unit 2 is slated to shut down as early as April 2020 and Unit 3, April 2021 — but Entergy plans to seek license renewals through 2024 and 2025, respectively, in case the electrical grid operator feels the system can’t handle the loss that soon.
In a press release concerning its agreement to shutter the facility, Entergy stated:
The two operating units at the Indian Point Energy Center will close in 2020-2021 after powering New York for more than four decades with clean, safe, and reliable electricity. The early and orderly shutdown is part of a settlement under which New York State has agreed to drop legal challenges and support renewal of the operating licenses for Indian Point, located in the Village of Buchanan in northern Westchester County. The shutdown will complete Entergy’s exit from its merchant power business because of sustained low wholesale energy prices.
Indian Point, despite claims the plant has one of the best operating records in the U.S., has had its share of mishaps and close calls — rattling the nerves of residents nearby and in the New York metroplex.
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