Entergy Corp. and Holtec International (Holtec), through their affiliates, jointly filed a License Transfer Application with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the federal agency responsible for ensuring the safe use of radioactive materials and regulation of commercial nuclear power plants, requesting approval for the transfer of Indian Point, its Nuclear Decommissioning Trust funds, which are accounts segregated from licensee assets and outside of administrative control of the licensee to pay for decommissioning costs, and the liability to complete decommissioning at the facility to Holtec after the last unit permanently shuts down by April 30, 2021.
Holtec’s technical expertise, innovations and industry-leading experience in spent fuel management and decommissioning would enable it to decommission Indian Point in a more cost-effective manner, with uncompromised safety and under rigorous oversight by the NRC.
When a power company decides to close a nuclear power plant permanently, the facility must be decommissioned by safely removing it from service and reducing residual radioactivity to a level that permits release of the property and termination of the operating license.
Three words can sum up the process – safety, compliance and transparency. Safety of employees, contractors and surrounding community will remain the top priority.
Activities will include permanently removing the plant from service, permanently defueling the reactor, obtaining license actions to reflect the change from operations to shutdown status, transferring spent nuclear fuel from the spent fuel pool to dry cask storage, removal of contaminated systems and components, demolition of the buildings on site, and restoring the site.
The used fuel will remain secured on site, under guard, monitored during shutdown and decommissioning activities, and subject to the NRC’s oversight until it is removed by the federal Department of Energy, in accordance with its legal obligations.
The NRC maintains frequently asked questions on nuclear plant decommissioning at this site: https://www.nrc.gov/waste/decommissioning/faq.html
Holtec plans to initiate decommissioning at Indian Point promptly following regulatory approvals and transaction close, and it expects to release the site (with the exception of the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation) for re-use by the 2030s, decades sooner than if Entergy continued to own the facility.
Holtec’s ability to complete major decommissioning work at the facility as much as 40 years sooner. Entergy enables the site to be repurposed and replacement tax revenue generated decades sooner, which benefits the local community and other stakeholders. Additionally, because decommissioning work will take place sooner, rather than 50-60 years in the future, the site will continue to employ hundreds of people and generate economic activity over the next decade.
Finally, timely decommissioning will remove radioactive and non-radioactive material and structures from the site and allow the site potentially to be restored and developed for productive local economic use.
Holtec plans to discuss future land use with elected officials in Buchanan and Cortlandt to obtain input on their vision for the land. Because Holtec does not own the plant, Holtec has not determined what the potential use will be for the land.
Holtec’s technical expertise, innovations, and industry-leading experience in spent fuel management and decommissioning enable it to do the work in a more cost-effective manner than Entergy, safely and under rigorous NRC oversight. Holtec is able to perform the work utilizing the Nuclear Decommissioning Trust funds, and can begin the process immediately after receiving regulatory approval and following transaction close.
Holtec and its partners have decades of experience safely managing complex projects involving spent nuclear fuel and decommissioning. The decommissioning process is regulated by the U.S. NRC, and all disbursements from the decommissioning trust fund are approved by the NRC.
Holtec has contracted with Comprehensive Decommissioning International, LLC (CDI) to perform the decommissioning, including demolition and site cleanup. CDI is a joint venture company of Holtec International and SNC-Lavalin. The decommissioning experience held by Holtec and SNC-Lavalin gives CDI more than half a century of managing complex nuclear projects in the commercial and government sectors worldwide.
Currently, Entergy is committed to finding a position within the company for any qualified IPEC employee who is willing to relocate.
Entergy is also preparing to staff its so-called Phase 1 organization with current Indian Point employees. This is the organization that will remain employed at the site after the last operating unit (Unit 3) is shut down by April 30, 2021, and its reactor is permanently defueled.
Holtec has committed to hiring all of those Phase 1 employees, which will be more than 300 individuals. Holtec will also honor the collective bargaining agreements that cover any of those Phase 1 employees.
Entergy has and will continue to participate in various meetings and forums to communicate future plans as we transition to decommissioning and sale. Entergy will continue to make payments in accordance with the PILOT agreement to local taxing authorities. Entergy also announced it would make $15 million available for community and environmental initiatives.
Holtec plans on becoming an integral part of the community. Holtec looks forward to meeting with local stakeholders, so it can develop a better understanding of the community’s needs and what role it could possibly play moving forward.
The NRC has previously approved License Transfer Applications from Exelon to Holtec for the shutdown of Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station (New Jersey) and from Entergy to Holtec for the shutdown of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station (Mass.) after determining that Holtec is technically and financially capable of decommissioning both plants.
Holtec intends to use a fleet approach to decommissioning, similar to how owners of operating nuclear power plants, like Entergy, manage its operating units. All decommissioning programs are run under an integrated management structure that unifies the collection of safety, operation, quality assurance, and management procedures/practices informed by the lessons learned from operations at each site. Best practices are shared across the fleet of plants to help ensure decommissioning is completed safely and efficiently. Holtec also intends to leverage the knowledge of current Indian Point employees to play key roles in the decommissioning process. Holtec will hire more than 300 current Indian Point employees following transaction of the facility.
The NRC, the federal agency responsible for ensuring the safe use of radioactive materials and regulation of commercial nuclear power plants, must approve the application to transfer Indian Point’s licenses from a subsidiary of Entergy to a subsidiary of Holtec. In its approval order, the NRC must determine that Holtec is financially and technically qualified to be the holder of Indian Point’s licenses.
The NRC regulatory process governs emergency preparedness at both operating and shut down nuclear power plants. Holtec would be responsible for maintaining that emergency preparedness plan in accordance with applicable NRC rules should it become the licensee. The health and safety of employees will remain its top priority should Holtec be selected to decommission Indian Point.
In addition to the NRC’s approval, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC), which ensures affordable, safe, secure, and reliable access to electric, gas, steam, telecommunications, and water services for New York States residential and business consumers, must review a petition filed by the companies requesting a ruling disclaiming PSC jurisdiction or abstaining from review of the proposed transfer of Indian Point to Holtec, or, in the alternative, an order approving the proposed transfer.
No. One of the closing conditions for each of the transactions is that each plant must have permanently ceased operations and the fuel must have been permanently removed from each reactor.
No. Entergy remains committed to its regulated nuclear power fleet. Entergy operates five nuclear units in regulated power markets in Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi, producing more than 5,000 megawatts of clean, reliable, and economic electricity for customers in those regions.
Entergy has consistently communicated that plants in its merchant power fleet in unregulated markets are challenged due to adverse market conditions.