Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant To Shut Down

Indian Point Nuclear Power PlantImage: Tony, CC BY 2.0, Link

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced the closure of the Indian Point Energy Center by April 2021; an announcement that will likely make many nervous New York residents very happy.

Located less than 40 kilometres from New York City, the 2,000MW power station has had a troubled past since its three reactors began operations in 1962, 1974 and 1976.

The first reactor was shut down on October 31, 1974 after the emergency core cooling system did not meet regulatory requirements. Unit 2 Reactor will close in April 2020 and Unit 3 Reactor will cease operations in April of 2021

“For 15 years, I have been deeply concerned by the continuing safety violations at Indian Point, especially given its location in the largest and most densely populated metropolitan region in the country,” Governor Cuomo said.

More than 40 safety and operational events and unit shut downs have occurred at the facility since 2012. In May 2015, the facility experienced a transformer fire. In February last year, it was announced radioactive tritium-contaminated water leaked into the groundwater at the facility.

The closure won’t result in any greenhouse gas emission increases from other generation sources making up the shortfall, thanks to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the Governor’s Clean Energy Standard. The Standard will see 50 percent of New York’s electricity being sourced from renewables by 2030. Governor Cuomo says the end of Indian Point will also have a negligible cost impact on taxpayers.

The closure is 14 years earlier than required under the anticipated federal re-licensing terms.

The decision was applauded by a number of groups, including Environment America.

“Hats off to the Cuomo Administration and New York leaders for planning to shut down another nuclear plant and replacing it with clean energy,” said Anna Aurilio, the group’s director.

“There’s more than enough renewable energy projects in the pipeline to replace Indian Point. Capturing New York’s tremendous potential for wind power, solar energy and energy savings can put us on a path to 100 percent renewable power and truly clean air.”

In New York City itself, the Big Apple has been thinking big on solar + storage. In September last year Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an expansion of targets to 1,000 MW of citywide solar capacity by 2030 and 100 megawatt hours of energy storage by 2020.