Entergy agrees to sell Indian Point

17 April 2019

Entergy Corp has agreed to sell the Indian Point Energy Center to a subsidiary of Holtec International following the shut-down of the final reactor at the site, which is planned for 2021. Holtec-SNC Lavalin joint venture Comprehensive Decommissioning Inc will decommission the plant on an accelerated timescale.

Indian Point units 2 and 3 (Image: Entergy)

Indian Point 2 is due to shut down by 30 April 2020 and unit 3 by 30 April 2021. The sale of the Entergy subsidiaries that own the three units in Buchanan, New York State to Holtec will become effective when unit 3 has been shut down and permanently defuelled, and includes the transfer of the licences, used fuel, decommissioning liabilities and nuclear decommissioning trusts for all three Indian Point units including Indian Point 1, which was shut down in 1974.

Entergy Chairman and CEO Leo Denault said the sale of Indian Point to Holtec was expected to result in the completion of decommissioning "decades sooner" than if the site were to remain under Entergy's ownership. "With its deep experience and technological innovations, Holtec's ability to decommission Indian Point will benefit stakeholders in the surrounding community," he said.

A more defined decommissioning timetable will be developed in connection with Holtec's preparation of its Post Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report and Site-Specific Decommissioning Cost Estimate. These documents, which are a regulatory requirement of part of the process of shutting down and decommissioning a US nuclear power plant, will "likely" be submitted to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in the final quarter of 2019, the companies said.

The transaction to sell Indian Point is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021, subject to conditions including approvals from NRC and relevant approvals and agreements from the New York State Public Service Commission and the state's Department of Environmental Conservation. Entergy said it will receive a "nominal cash consideration" for the transfer to Holtec of its interest in Indian Point.

Entergy in 2018 agreed to sell the Pilgrim and Palisades nuclear power plants to Holtec International after their closures in 2019 and 2022, respectively. The agreement means that Entergy has now announced the sale of its entire remaining merchant fleet for decommissioning. This is in line with a strategy focusing on growing Entergy's regulated utility, which includes nuclear reactors owned and operated by the company at five sites in the southern USA.

Following the acquisition, Holtec's fleet will include six reactors at four sites, as well as a used fuel storage installation, across four states. Licence transfer application requests for Oyster Creek, which Holtec agreed in 2018 to purchase from Exelon, and Pilgrim are pending and expected to close this year.

Accelerated decommissioning

Holtec and its affiliates plan to deploy operating processes and methods that enable them to expedite site clean-up and minimise occupational dose to workers, while minimising any incidental disruption of the land, water, and air at and around the Indian Point site. All of the plant's used nuclear fuel will be transferred to Holtec dry fuel storage cask systems to be stored at on-site reinforced concrete pads.

The heavily shielded casks and the pad will remain under guard, monitored during shutdown and decommissioning, and subject to NRC oversight, until the US Department of Energy removes it in accordance with its legal obligations, or until Holtec's proposed Consolidated Interim Storage facility in New Mexico, is ready to begin accepting used fuel from across the country. These methods will enable the return of most of the site - with the exception of the used fuel storage pad - to productive use much sooner than would occur if Entergy selected the maximum SAFSTOR option under the NRC regulations, the companies said.

Holtec President and CEO Kris Singh said his company's expertise and experience would enable it to complete decommissioning at Indian Point "decades sooner" than if Entergy remained the owner and carried out the decommissioning itself. "The potential for the site to be released decades sooner for redevelopment could deliver significant benefits to local community stakeholders and the local economy," he said.
Comprehensive Decommissioning Inc (CDI) yesterday announced it had agreed to enter into a multi-year contract with Holtec to carry out the decommissioning of the Indian Point site. The contract's value is expected to exceed CAD1 billion (USD751 million), SNC-Lavalin said.

"We aim to bring a fleet approach to the decommissioning business and safely return the sites to community use on an accelerated timescale," CDI President Kelly Trice said.

Indian Point units 2 and 3 - pressurised water reactors which between them generate about 2000 MWe of electricity - entered commercial operation in 1974 and 1976 respectively. Entergy purchased unit 3 in 2000 from the New York Power Authority, and unit 2, as well as the shut-down 257 MWe (net) unit 1, in 2001 from Consolidated Edison. The plant, located on the Hudson River, lies about 24 miles (39 kilometres) from New York City. Entergy in 2017 agreed with the state of New York to close the plant in 2020-2021.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News