Governor Cuomo Announces Public Service Commission has Approved the Sale of Indian Point
Press release courtesy of the Governor’s Office
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Public Service Commission approved the sale of the Indian Point nuclear power facility to Holtec International subsidiaries. The PSC approved a negotiated agreement by the State of New York, County of Westchester, local governments, Public Utility Law Project, Riverkeeper, Entergy, the former owner of Indian Point, and Holtec, which provides for the transfer of the nuclear power facility to Holtec for a swift, complete and safe decommissioning and site remediation. The long-term trajectory ensuring the State’s greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets are met remains on track. Indian Point’s closure has been anticipated by State energy planners for more than a decade and the plant’s continued operation was therefore not included in the State’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction plans. New York State generators must continue to comply with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative’s carbon cap, ensuring the region’s emissions will continue to decline after Indian Point closes.
New York is part of RGGI, the regional cap and trade program, and the State will continue to stay under the emissions cap, which declines 30 percent between 2021 and 2030. Emissions, specifically CO2 emissions, have reduced consistently over time due to increased efficiency of the grid as a whole. This includes the addition of renewables, the retirement of less efficient generation, the installation of more efficient conventional generation, and more efficient energy usage.
“As Governor and previously as Attorney General, I have been deeply concerned with the safety of the Indian Point nuclear power facility given its proximity to some of the most densely populated areas in the nation,” Governor Cuomo said. “After years of relentless work with our federal, state, and local partners, we have finally been able to close it safely and responsibly and will now move on to the decommissioning phase. This is a win for the health and safety of New Yorkers, and the protection of our environment. Due to the careful planning for the closure, New York remains on track to reliably achieve its clean energy goals.”
In 2017, Entergy—the owner of Indian Point—agreed with Governor Cuomo to close the two remaining operating reactors at the Westchester County site. Unit 2 powered down in April 2020, and Unit 3 was deactivated last month. In November 2019, Entergy and Holtec filed an application for license transfer with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission and separately filed a petition asking the PSC not to exercise any jurisdiction over the sale of the Indian Point facilities and site.
Instead, the State Department of Public Service staff, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Department of Environmental Conservation, Office of Attorney General, local governments and others worked to ensure that the public’s interests were protected, and those agencies secured the financial and administrative provisions contained in the joint proposal that was presented to the PSC for its review and consideration. The PSC also provided opportunities for public comment at several points in the proceeding. The NRC previously approved the license transfer without the provisions contained in the joint proposal to the PSC, and the State of New York filed a lawsuit challenging NRC’s decision. The joint proposal approved by the PSC today resolved the federal litigation.
The joint proposal approved by the PSC addressed the State’s concerns that adequate funds are available to complete the project subject to State oversight. Under the agreement, Holtec is required to adhere to a robust suite of financial and administrative provisions, including:
- Maintaining a minimum balance of no less than $400 million in the decommissioning trust fund for 10 years;
- Maintaining a minimum balance of no less than $360 million in the decommissioning trust fund at partial site release from the NRC for costs related to waste management and radiological cleanup of the site;
- Requiring Holtec to return 50 percent of the money it recovers from the Department of Energy for spent fuel management costs to the decommissioning trust fund;
- Conducting site restoration and remediation under an order on consent with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which will oversee the hazardous materials and residual radiation cleanup at Indian Point, including through the use of an on-site monitor;
- Providing funding towards state and local emergency management and response; and
- Providing financial and project reporting to the State and the public through a website and other channels to ensure transparency regarding project status and costs.