The agreement, reached in January 2017, was for the two operating nuclear units at Indian Point to close in 2020-2021. The agreement saw New York state and activist group Riverkeeper agree to drop legal challenges and support the renewal of both operating licences for a limited period.
Indian Point-2 will shut down today, after almost 46 years of commercial operation, and Indian Point- 3 by 30 April 2021.
Entergy said key considerations in its decision to shut down the two pressurised water reactor units ahead of schedule included sustained low wholesale energy prices that have reduced revenues, and increased operating costs.
The US-based Climate Coalition, in a letter delivered last week to New York governor Andrew Cuomo, asked the governor to suspend the closure of the plant. The group, which includes climate scientists, environmental groups, climate and clean energy advocates, and others, said in the letter that closing the plant will make the state more vulnerable to power disruptions during the coronavirus pandemic.
Indian Point-2, a 1,020-MW PWR, began commercial operation in 1974 and Indian Point-3, a 1,040-MW PWR, in 1976. Indian Point-1, a 257-MW PWR, began commercial operation in 1962 and was permanently shut down in 1974.
New Jersey-based Holtec is to assume ownership of the Indian Point site for decommissioning. Holtec estimates decommissioning of both units will be completed in the 2030s.
The US has the largest number of nuclear plants in the world – 99 in commercial operation providing 20% of its electricity generation – but its leadership in the industry is said by many in the sector to be declining as efforts to build a new generation of reactors have been plagued by problems, and ageing plants have been retired or closed in the face of economic, market, and financial pressures.
The situation, exacerbated by competition in the overseas new-build sector from China and Russia, has seen the nuclear industry and its supporters call on the government to enact legislation that would support the continued operation of nuclear plants.