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Indian Point Operating Licenses Extended By NRC

Indian Point
Indian Point Photo Credit: File

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved license extensions for the Indian Point nuclear power plants in Buchanan.

Entergy's renewed licenses are intended to cover the nuclear reactors' operation beyond the state-negotiated closing dates.

The initial Indian Point license renewal application, submitted to the NRC in 2007, sought 20-year extensions for Units 2 and 3.

Under a settlement agreement among parent company Entergy, New York state and Riverkeeper, Unit 2 is slated to shut down in 2020; and Unit 3, in 2021.

In addition, Entergy agreed to modify its extension request to no later than April 30, 2024, for Indian Point 2, and no later than April 30, 2025 for Indian Point 3, and that’s in the event the state determines that an "emergency" requires Indian Point to continue operating.

NRC Public Affairs Officer Neil Sheehan said the additional time was included in case the state “determines that an emergency exists by reason of war, terrorism, a sudden increase in the demand for electric energy, or a sudden shortage of electric energy or of facilities for the generation or transmission of electric energy.”

"Entergy does not have any expectation that either unit will run beyond its scheduled shutdown in 2020 and 2021,” the company said in a statement.

“The issuance of these renewed licenses is the culmination of thousands of hours of work by hundreds of nuclear professionals at Indian Point and across our nuclear fleet and company,” said Chris Bakken, Entergy’s chief nuclear officer. “Indian Point is one of the most reliable electricity generating plants in New York State, and it repeatedly has been determined to be safely and securely operated. I congratulate our outstanding employees on achieving this milestone.”

The previously granted 40-year operating licenses for the reactors expired on Sept. 28. 2013 and Dec. 12, 2015, respectively. However, the plants were permitted to remain online under the “timely renewal” provision of NRC regulations, which states that plants can continue to operate until NRC reviews of license renewal applications are completed.

The NRC completed safety and environmental reviews of the application. The safety evaluation was completed on Nov. 30, 2009 while an environmental impact statement was issued on Dec. 3, 2010.

Meanwhile, Unit 3 at Indian Point was returned to service on Monday, Sept. 17. The nuclear reactor had been shut down since Sept. 7 due to a water leak from a tank.

Entergy concluded the final refueling and maintenance outage at Unit 2 in April, reportedly investing tens of millions of dollars. Entergy said it plans to conduct the final refueling and maintenance outage at Unit 3 in the spring of 2019.

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