The two operating units at Indian Point Energy Center, Unit 2 and Unit 3, received their renewed operating licenses on Monday from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), ending more than 11 years of regulatory review. Plant owner Entergy (NYSE: ETR), a Business Council of Westchester member, had applied for the licenses in April 2007.
“The issuance of these renewed licenses is the culmination of thousands of hours of work by hundreds of nuclear professionals at Indian Point and across our nuclear fleet and company,” said Chris Bakken, Entergy’s chief nuclear officer. “Indian Point is one of the most reliable electricity generating plants in New York State, and it repeatedly has been determined to be safely and securely operated. I congratulate our outstanding employees on achieving this milestone.”
The receipt of the renewed operating licenses does not change the schedule for the retirement of the Indian Point units in accordance with a 2017 settlement agreement between Entergy and New York State. Under the settlement agreement, Unit 2 will shut down by April 30, 2020 and Unit 3 by April 30, 2021. Entergy cited sustained, lower wholesale power prices as the main factor in its decision to enter into the settlement agreement and shut down the Indian Point units.
The renewed federal licenses permit Unit 2 to operate until April 30, 2024 and Unit 3 to operate until April 30, 2025. The decision to seek renewed licenses that terminate in that timeframe was agreed to by all parties to the 2017 settlement agreement and is intended to allow for limited, continued operations of one or both units – if agreed to by both New York State and Entergy – in the event of unexpected and severe disruptions of the regional electric grid. Entergy does not have any expectation that either unit will run beyond its scheduled shutdown in 2020 and 2021.
John Ravitz, executive vice president of the BCW, congratulated Entergy on this important milestone.
“The Business Council of Westchester has always supported the safe operation of Indian Point and its relicensing,” Ravitz said. “The BCW, like most of the region, was taken by the surprise announcement that Indian Point, the provider of approximately 25% of our region’s electricity with virtually no carbon emissions, will cease operations in 2021.”
“It is important to note that the plant’s owner and operator, Entergy, has worked tirelessly to ensure the safe and productive operation of Indian Point and continues to be committed to maintaining the highest standards of plant operations through the closure date,” Ravitz continued. “While the shutdown of Indian Point is not immediate, it nonetheless poses a wide range of significant and complex challenges for our future economy, our businesses and for Westchester residents. The BCW urges state policymakers to develop a clear and transparent plan to replace Indian Point’s electricity; assure reliability of the electric system in the Hudson Valley and mitigate the reduction in economic activity and tax revenues and limit the increased air pollution.”