Plant Operation

Indian Point / Unit 3 Set For Closure, Despite Warnings On Emissions

By David Dalton
30 April 2021

Operator Entergy says shutdown will end ‘remarkable recent operating history’
Unit 3 Set For Closure, Despite Warnings On Emissions
The last unit at the Indian Point nuclear station is scheduled to shut down on 30 April.
The last of three nuclear power reactors at the Indian Point nuclear power station in New York is scheduled for closure on Friday, after a years-long battle over its fate and despite warnings that shuttering the plant could increase the state’s short-term reliance on fossil fuels and increase emissions.

There are three pressurised water reactor units at Indian Point. Indian Point-2 was permanently shut down in April 2020. Indian Point-1, a smaller PWR that began operation in 1962, was taken offline in 1974 because the emergency core cooling system did not meet regulatory requirements.

The shutdowns of Units 2 and 3 are the result of an agreement between Entergy, the facility’s operator, the state of New York, and environmental groups who had pressured officials to close the station. Entergy said one factor in the closure was sustained low current and projected wholesale energy prices that reduced revenues.

Unit 2 began commercial operation in 1974 and Unit 3 in 1976.

In February, the Climate Action lobby group said that despite 2,753 GWh of reduced energy demand during the Covid-19 pandemic, New York state generated significantly more electricity, 5,068 GWh, from fossil fuels in 2020 than in 2019 because of lost nuclear power.

The group, which supports the use of commercial nuclear power in the state, said that due to this greater fossil fuel consumption, the closure of Indian Point-2 could result in the annual production of about four million tonnes of avoidable carbon dioxide emissions – a figure that could double because of the closure of Indian Point-3.

In June 2020, the pro-nuclear non-profit group Generation Atomic said the closure of Indian Point-2 erased more carbon-free electricity from the grid than is generated annually by all of the wind and solar power deployed statewide over the past 20 years.

Entergy said the shutdown will end a remarkable recent operating history for the 1,030-MW Unit 3, which has generated electricity continuously for 751 days since it was last refueled in April 2019. This is a world record for commercial light water nuclear power reactors, the company said.

In November 2020, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the transfer of the Indian Point licence from Entergy to Holtec International and subsidiary Holtec Decommissioning International. Holtec plans to begin decommissioning at Indian Point following regulatory approval and expects to release portions of the site for re-use by the mid-2030s, nearly 40 years sooner than if Entergy continued to own the facility.

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