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State legislators push forward Indian Point legislation

State legislators push forward Indian Point legislation

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Decommissioning oversight bill still needs action before adjournment.


Indian Point legislationIndian Point unit 2 has shut down. Unit 3 is poised to shut down in less than a year. New Yorkers face the actual possibility that Holtec, an international corporation woefully unfit to handle nuclear decommissioning is on the verge of taking over the plant from Entergy.  Senator Pete Harkham and Assemblymember Sandy Galef are pushing forward legislation to address an array of issues facing Indian Point’s workers, community, and the state’s ratepayers.

Last week, three Indian Point bills passed both houses of the state legislature and are well on their way to Governor Cumo’s desk to become law. The new laws, if signed by the governor, will help retain the existing workforce, extend payment in lieu of taxes to former energy generation facilities, and enable the taxation of the spent fuel rods and casks that will remain on site for the foreseeable future. Riverkeeper thanks Galef and Harckham for prioritizing these bills, which  will help the community throughout the decommissioning process. 

A fourth bill, creating a Nuclear Generating Station Decommissioning Oversight Board, still needs urgent action before the legislature adjourns. Riverkeeper strongly supports this bill,  S.8154/A.10236, which establishes the framework for the oversight of decommissioning nuclear power plants in the state. These New York State Decommissioning Oversight Boards will enable a unified response from all relevant New York State agencies and facilitate public input from affected communities, labor representatives, and other interested stakeholders. When antiquated nuclear power plants are phased out across New York, it is imperative that decommissioning is properly managed for the health of the community and environment.

While retired plants no longer generate electricity, there are continued environmental and economic concerns. Spent fuel, radioactive materials, and demolition of massive structures must be carefully managed or removed as the site undergoes remediation. The retirement of a plant also can impact our economy, reduces jobs and tax revenue for nearby communities, while running costs upwards of hundreds of millions of dollars. As shown by the proposal to transfer Indian Point to Holtec — a decommissioning company with a history of lies, bribes, and risk-taking — the industry is eager to capitalize on the large decommissioning trust funds, without care to our environmental and financial interests. With intersecting federal and state regulation and the complexity of the decommissioning process, the lack of coordination can give the industry free rein to mismanage decommissioning and the millions dedicated to the process. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has long been swayed by the industry’s influence; therefore, it is up to New York State to advocate for our environmental and financial interests.

This legislation will create a coalition of all relevant state agencies and a diverse group of impacted stakeholders to provide comprehensive oversight to ensure New York’s nuclear plants are decommissioned in an efficient and safe manner protecting the state’s environmental and financial interests. We urge the legislature to take up this legislation without delay.

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