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Statement regarding Entergy’s plan to sell the Indian Point nuclear plant to Holtec for decommissioning

Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay released this statement today:

Riverkeeper has major concerns about Tuesday’s announcement that Entergy will sell the Indian Point reactors to Holtec for decommissioning.  Both Holtec and its intended partner, SNC-Lavalin, have problematic operating histories, including a bribery scandal in Canada that threatens to topple the Trudeau government. This proposed license transfer therefore needs careful scrutiny by New York State, and, ideally, by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The stated goal of decommissioning more rapidly than the 60 years allowed by the federal government is welcome, but that is not the primary goal of these companies. Entergy wants to wash its hands of any future liability at the Indian Point site. The decommissioning companies want to make money by taking control of the $1.7 billion decommissioning fund and doing the job as cheaply as possible.

To even contemplate such a sale, some minimum conditions must be met.  First, Entergy should offer financial guarantees so that New Yorkers are not left holding the bag if there is an accident during decommissioning or if Holtec spends all the money in the decommissioning fund without completing the job. Second, Holtec and its partners must also show that they have the financial strength to weather an accident and to backstop the decommissioning fund. They must also undertake not use the decommissioning fund for other purposes, such as spent fuel management. In addition, they should return any excess funds to the State if they do not need to spend all $1.7 billion on decommissioning.  Finally, they should continue to support emergency responders, radiation monitoring, and other off-site programs at the same level as Entergy.

Third, because the federal oversight process is so weak the state must assert its jurisdiction to supervise license transfer to ensure that there is robust and transparent oversight of the decommissioning process, that goals for cleaning up the contaminated groundwater under the site are fully protective of human health, and that the decommissioning companies may not cut corners to save money and provide the necessary financial guarantees.  The state should do everything in its power to ensuring the reactor site is decommissioned promptly and effectively, while protecting the health of New Yorkers and the environment.

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