Updated 9:12 AM EST, Tue, Jan 05, 2021

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New York to Shut Down Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant due to Safety Concerns

New York State to Shut Down Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant due to Safety of New Yorkers

(Photo : Getty Images) Governor Andrew Cuomo, along with several environmental groups and other stakeholders, has led efforts to shut down the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant on safety and environmental grounds for years.

Entergy Corp's Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York state will shut down by April 2021 in order to protect the safety of its citizens, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday.

Unit 2 of the plant's operating reactors will close as early as April 2020 and Unit 3 will be in April 2021.

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"I am proud to have secured this agreement with Entergy to responsibly close the facility 14 years ahead of schedule to protect the safety of all New Yorkers," Cuomo said in a statement.

The agreement was accompanied by commitments to replace the facility's electrical generation capacity with carbon-free sources in a way that will not spike utility bills. The shut down comes as the New Orleans-based firm has been pulling back from its unregulated nuclear business over the past few years.

Entergy has been trying to renew its federal licenses for the two Indian Point reactors since 2007, and those licenses have expired in 2013 and 2015, but its reactors can continue to operate as long as the renewal process is ongoing, according to Business Insider.

Safety Concerns

The power plant, which is located in Buchanan along the Hudson River about 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of midtown Manhattan, has been plagued by safety concerns for decades,  including faulty bolts and various leaks and fires.

The plant was noted as the most vulnerable to earthquakes in the nation, and the region lacks evacuation in the event of disaster, Cuomo noted.

So the governor, along with several environmental groups and other stakeholders, has exerted efforts to shut the facility on safety and environmental grounds for years.

New York also has been developing contingency plans for years to replace the power supplied by Indian Point.

Power Replacement Plan

The plant produces over 2,000 megawatts of carbon-free electricity, enough to meet 25 percent of the power used by New York City and Westchester County's load.

Forbes noted that it will be challenging to replace 2,000 MWs entirely with renewables and energy efficiency without significantly increasing costs to ratepayers; however, the New York State and environmental groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council are confident that it can be done.

A 2012 study entitled "Indian Point Replacement Analysis: A Clean Energy Roadmap," is in the process of being updated, and the new version is expected to be released by mid-February, according to the NRDC.

The study concluded that customers' retail electric bills will increase by approximately 1 percent as a result of replacing Indian Point's generation capacity with the mixture of energy efficiency measures, demand response programs, and new high-voltage transmission infrastructure that will bring new and existing renewable energy sources to the New York metropolitan area.

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