The troubled Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant is slated to shut down by 2021, according to a recently-reached agreement between New York State and Entergy. The plant is located just 30 miles north of New York City, and environmentalists have long called for its closure due to the danger it poses to millions of people downstream. This was made all the move evident when it was discovered that the plant was leaking into the groundwater last February.
The plant will close in two stages: the first of the two nuclear reactors will shut down by April 2020, with the second ceasing operations by April 2021. The closure is seen as a win for environmentalists, who see far more potential – and safety – in wind and hydropower. In June, Governor Cuomo, who has made closing the plant a priority, stated to reporters: “Why you would allow Indian Point to continue to operate defies common sense, planning and basic sanity.”
Critics of the move say that the plant provides a large amount of affordable power. Indian Point provides a fourth of all power to New York City and Westchester County. As of now, there is no alternative in place to provide the power that the nuclear plant currently provides. Alternatives could come from hydro power in Quebec or wind farms across the state. But there is plenty of optimism that an alternative can be found. According to a statement from NRDC, “Fortunately, Governor Cuomo’s groundbreaking clean energy policies will ease the transition to safer alternatives that don’t produce dangerous waste or increase carbon emissions, such as energy efficiency, solar power, and both onshore and offshore wind energy.
“For the past six years, my office has led the state’s challenge to Entergy’s request for a twenty-year extension of its license to operate Indian Point, and this agreement marks the successful culmination of our work to address the serious health and safety risks that the plant poses to neighboring communities,” said NY Attorney General Schneiderman.