License Transfer Request for Indian Point Approved by NRC
BUCHANAN, New York – The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission today approved the application to transfer the licenses for Indian Point Energy Center’s nuclear power plants Unit 1, Unit 2 and Unit 3, from Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR) subsidiaries to a Holtec International subsidiary for prompt decommissioning. The transfer of Indian Point to Holtec, currently targeted for May 2021, would occur following the satisfaction of all closing conditions, including the permanent shutdown and reactor defueling of Unit 3, which is the last operating power plant at Indian Point. Unit 3 will shut down by April 30, 2021.
Entergy and Holtec jointly filed a License Transfer Application with the NRC in November 2019, requesting approval for the transfer of Indian Point, along with its Nuclear Decommissioning Trusts (NDTs) and decommissioning liability, from current owner Entergy to Holtec.
“The NRC’s approval of the Indian Point license transfer is a critical milestone as we move closer to completing the transaction,” said Leo Denault, Entergy’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “The sale of Indian Point following its permanent shutdown will benefit the community by enabling the facility to be removed and the site remediated decades sooner than otherwise thought possible. Stakeholders in the community will benefit from a dismantling and decommissioning process that can begin promptly following shutdown next year.”
In its decision, the NRC determined that Holtec possesses the required technical and financial qualifications to decommission Indian Point safely and in accordance with NRC requirements. Previously, the NRC approved two separate transfers of retired nuclear power plants to Holtec for prompt decommissioning; Holtec currently owns and is decommissioning the shutdown Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey and the shutdown Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Massachusetts. Additionally, the NRC previously approved the license transfer of Vermont Yankee to NorthStar Group Services in support of Entergy’s effort to divest of its merchant nuclear fleet to focus on its regulated and transformation strategies.
Holtec plans to begin the decommissioning process promptly upon taking ownership, and as part of the agreement between the companies, will initially provide job opportunities for approximately 300 of Entergy’s current employees at Indian Point. Holtec also has agreed to honor the collective bargaining agreements that apply to current employees.
Separate from the NRC approval, Entergy and Holtec previously filed a petition with the New York Public Service Commission requesting a ruling disclaiming PSC jurisdiction or abstaining from review of the proposed transaction, or, in the alternative, an order approving the proposed transaction. That petition remains pending before the PSC.
Holtec’s plan for decommissioning will result in the release for re-use of the vast majority of the site in the 2030s, with the exception of the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation and its security perimeter – the area where spent nuclear fuel is safely stored in dry casks until the U.S. Department of Energy transfers the spent fuel offsite. As part of its plan, Holtec expects to move all of the Indian Point spent nuclear fuel into dry casks within about three years following facility shutdown in 2021. Holtec has a pending application with the NRC for a Consolidated Interim Storage Facility in New Mexico, which could eventually store spent nuclear fuel from Indian Point and other U.S. nuclear power plants.
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including 8,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.9 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of $11 billion and approximately 13,600 employees.