Lawmakers Review Plan To Close Indian Point Nuclear Plant

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Some New York lawmakers are demanding more information about plans to close Indian Point nuclear plant by 2021.

Tuesday’s legislative hearing focused on the environmental and health implications of shuttering the facility, which sits in Buchanan, Westchester County 30 miles north of the city.

At the hearing, Republican Sen. Terrence Murphy (R-Shrub Oak) said the public deserves answers about how the state plans to replace the power lost when the facility 30 miles north of the city shuts down in 2021.

While it is unlikely lawmakers could prevent Indian Point from closing, some have expressed worries about the state’s ability to make up for the lost power. The plant generates the equivalent of a quarter of the electricity used by New York City and Westchester County. 

Entergy, the company that runs the plant, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the environmental group Riverkeeper worked out the deal. Cuomo argues the plant is too hazardous to operate near such a large population center.

Murphy said there has been a “shocking lack of planning” following the closure’s announcement in January.

Murray said the deal is another example of “three men in a room,” or lack of transparency, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported.

“I’d like you to look at the mayor of Buchanan right over there, and the supervisor in Cortlandt, and the superintendent of schools right over in Hendrick Hudson School District that should have been in that room,” Murray said.

All three of those entities rely on Indian Point to help fill their budgets, Haskell reported.

“Ample resources will be available to replace Indian Point’s power,” Richard Kauffan, of Cuomo’s office, said.

On Tuesday, Cuomo appointed a task force to address employment and property tax impacts, develop new economic opportunities and work force retraining, and monitor compliance with the closure agreement.

“The landmark agreement to close Indian Point 14 years ahead of schedule will protect the health and safety of all New Yorkers,” Cuomo said. “The creation of this new task force will help ensure potential impacts on the local community will be minimized and that an open dialogue is maintained throughout this transition process.”

Murphy will be on the task force.

The plant’s two reactors went online in 1974 and 1976. Entergy President Bill Mohl said increasing operational costs combined with low natural gas prices have cut into revenues, and that Entergy was facing a hard choice on the plant even before negotiations with the state began.

The plant has been subject to a series of radiation leaks, fires and unplanned outages in recent months.

In October 2016, an undetermined amount of oil spilled into a drainage canal leading to the Hudson River, creating an oil sheen and cleanup efforts.

In March 2016, hundreds of faulty bolts were discovered at the Indian Point power plant, causing the facility to shut down. Entergy Corp. said more than 2,000 bolts had been inspected when the Indian Point 2 reactor was shut down and that some of the bolts on the reactor’s inner liner were missing at the time of the discovery.

In February 2016 , Cuomo called for an investigation after an apparent overflow at the plant spilled highly radioactive water into an underground monitoring well. Nuclear regulators said the public wasn’t at risk.

In December 2015, a reactor shut down at the plant following an electrical disturbance on outdoor high voltage transmission lines.

That outage in turn came just days after control rods lost power at the Indian Point 2 reactor, forcing it to shut down for three days.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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