Holtec will handle nuclear decommissioning
Holtec International cleared the final hurdle standing between it and the ownership of the Indian Point nuclear power facility last week when the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) approved the transfer of the plant’s license from Entergy, which has owned the three reactors for 20 years.
Indian Point’s final reactor was shut down last month. Once the reactor is emptied of radioactive fuel, Holtec will take over and decommission the plant, a process that the company estimates will take 15 years.
Local lawmakers, community leaders and environmental groups had opposed the license transfer, citing what they said was Holtec’s relative inexperience in decommissioning plants, past legal issues and questions about its financial viability. When the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission neglected to hold a public hearing before approving the license transfer, state Attorney General Letitia James sued to stop the transfer.
A settlement was reached between the state, Entergy, Holtec, local municipalities and the environmental group Riverkeeper contingent on Public Service Commission approval. It requires Holtec to maintain a balance of $2.1 billion in a decommissioning fund, help fund local and state emergency management and response, and allow the state Department of Environmental Conservation to have an on-site monitor.
The agreement also calls for the formation of a Decommissioning Oversight Board of state officials, local leaders, labor leaders, scientific and technical experts and “a representative from the environmental community.” The board will meet publicly at least three times a year and “make recommendations to the facility owner” and, “if necessary, for regulatory actions.”
Clearwater, the environmental organization based in Beacon that had opposed the license transfer, called for the oversight board to be formed as soon as possible to review Holtec’s plans.