Blogs > Indian Point > Riverkeeper urges New York State to deny the transfer of Indian Point 

Riverkeeper urges New York State to deny the transfer of Indian Point 

Indian PointHaving previously submitted a formal request for a hearing and comments on the transfer of Indian Point Energy Center to Holtec for decommissioning, last week Riverkeeper and many others submitted our comments to the Public Service Commission in response to Entergy and Holtec’s petition regarding the transfer. In the petition, Entergy and Holtec shamelessly asked the Commission to disclaim jurisdiction over review of the transfer, or alternatively approve the transfer without an in-depth review.

Riverkeeper’s comments outline the strong legal and public interest basis for the Commission to review the transfer in full. Not only does the legal precedent show that the Commission can and should review this transfer, as it has other transfers in the past, but also that the lack of review would leave aspects of the transfer completely unexamined by any regulator. With the weak federal oversight, it is up to New York State to protect its economic and environmental interests.

Once it takes jurisdiction, we urged the Commission to reject the transfer because:

1)  Holtec is unfit to manage Indian Point shown by its long history of lies, bribes, and risk-taking and Holtec has little experience decommissioning nuclear power plants.

2) Holtec brings no money to the table and is relying solely on the projected growth of the decommissioning trust fund to cover all expenses — a risky proposition as shown by the recent economic uncertainty created by COVID-19. If the trust fund is inadequate, Holtec’s corporate structure makes it nearly impossible for the public to force Holtec to cover the difference, so shortfalls will likely fall on the public.

3) As we expressed to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the cost estimates are highly uncertain, Holtec is seeking to enrich itself with trust fund money, and it has made no provisions for groundwater cleanup.

Finally, our comments call upon the Commission to require financial assurances from Holtec if the transaction is approved, to protect the public from the financial and environmental risks if the trust funds fall short.

Many of our concerns are shared by a number of notable commenters:

New York State Attorney General urged the PSC to reject the transfer or impose conditions that ensure sufficient funds are available for decommissioning. It points out that Holtec has both underestimated the cost of decommissioning and over-estimated its ability to meet those costs from the decommissioning fund alone.

Local Towns and the School District stated that the proposed transfer is not in the public interest because Holtec is inexperienced and financially unfit and has underestimated the costs of decommissioning. The towns are particularly concerned that unless Indian Point is fully cleaned up, it could become a blight on the surrounding communities.

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority stated that the PSC should impose appropriate conditions on the transfer to ensure sufficient funds are available and requests an independent audit of Holtec’s finances. It also pointed out that the PSC imposed a site clean up requirement when Entergy acquired Indian Point, which Holtec has failed to recognize.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation pointed out many deficiencies in the decommissioning proposal and concludes that the petition does not contain enough information to assess the cost-estimate and the need for financial assurances. DEC stated that the Applicants must provide additional information and account for state regulatory processes in the cost-estimate before a determination is made. DEC further urged the Commission to consider “common-sense financial assurance requirements given the significant risks.”

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