Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. (Photo: PG&E)
Last April, Entergy had to close its Indian Point nuclear plant. That’s despite the plant’s being recognized as one of the best-run U.S. nuclear plants. That’s also despite its 20-year license extension process having been nearly completed, with full support from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
This closure was due in large part to opposition by antinuclear environmental groups. These groups also mobilized existing negative public opinion on nuclear energy to get politicians to oppose the plant’s license extension. Another factor is unfair market conditions. Nuclear energy doesn’t get due government support—unlike solar, wind, and hydro—despite delivering clean, zero-emissions energy.
The new sign at the Indian Point Energy Center. (Photo: Holtec)
The transfer of the Indian Point nuclear power plant from Entergy to Holtec International and its subsidiaries was completed last week. Under the asset transfer deal, Holtec Indian Point becomes owner of the closed plant, with Holtec Decommissioning International serving as the site’s license holder and decommissioning operator.
The above figure provides NYISO's projected mix of resource capacity expected to be available for the 2021 Summer Capability Period.
The figure below shows the vast difference in 2020 between clean energy provided to upstate New York and to downstate New York. With the recent closure of Indian Point-3, the difference will widen for downstate New York in 2021.
NYISO released its 2021 power trends report for the state of New York. As noted by many in the energy community prior to the closure of Indian Point nuclear power plant's Unit 2 and Unit 3 in 2020 and 2021, respectively, the projected mix of resource capacity expected for downstate New York's energy generation will be heavily reliant on fossil fuels.
Indian Point-3’s turbine hall and generator. Photo: Entergy
The disturbingly long list of U.S. nuclear plants prematurely closed in recent years will get even longer tonight when the last reactor at the Indian Point Energy Center, Unit 3, powers down for the final time. The shutdown, scheduled for 11 p.m. local time, will mark the end of nearly 60 years of zero-carbon electricity generation at the Buchanan, N.Y., facility.
Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, N.Y.
The State of New York will withdraw its lawsuit against the transfer of Indian Point’s license to Holtec International for decommissioning under a provisional agreement signed on April 14. In exchange, Holtec has agreed to maintain a minimum of $400 million in Indian Point’s decommissioning trust fund for the next 10 years.
The Indian Point nuclear power plant
With a blunt but indisputably accurate headline, an article from yesterday’s New York Times on the imminent closure of Indian Point makes it immediately clear what will happen when Unit 3, the nuclear plant’s last operating reactor, is shut down at the end of this month: The state of New York will be forced to rely more heavily on fossil fuels for electricity generation.
Following the retirement of Indian Point-2 last April, the share of New York’s power coming from gas-fired plants rose to about 40 percent, from about 36 percent in 2019, the piece notes, adding that the share from renewables moved up only slightly, to about 30 percent.