“CORTLANDT, NY — The federal Atomic Safety and Licensing Board has cleared the way for Entergy to renew Indian Point’s licenses until 2021 by dismissing the last points of contention between the company, New York state and environmental advocacy group Riverkeeper.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff is still conducting reviews associated with the license renewal application.
The judges had asked interested local governments, such as the town of Cortlandt and village of Buchanan, if they wanted to weigh in on the motion to close out the hearing; but had no takers.
“By granting this motion, we will bring to an end litigation that has been ongoing for almost 10 years and which raised numerous significant safety and environmental issues,” the Board said in its ruling.
In its ruling, the board revisited the decade of litigation over Entergy’s request to renew the operating licenses for Indian Point’s Unit 2 and Unit 3. As the judges pointed out, just three contentions remained by 2015, and those were from New York and Riverkeeper.
Those contentions challenged the adequacy of Entergy’s aging management program for reactor vessel internals; challenged the adequacy of Entergy’s aging management program for metal fatigue; and challenged whether the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had a sufficient record on which to make a decision about license renewal when certain details of aging management programs were deferred.
It was the state and the nonprofit that moved to dismiss the contentions, as they had promised in their deal with the energy company over earlier shut-down of Indian Point.
While Riverkeeper and New York State acted to end the litigation, Entergy has committed to loading a minimum of four casks of spent fuel onto the dry cask storage pads each year.
“One of the biggest issues facing permanently closed nuclear power plants is what to do with the spent fuel,” said NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan. “A priority during the initial years after the reactors shut down is to transfer fuel from the spent fuel pool to dry cask storage. By ensuring there is ongoing loading of casks during the years leading up to plant shutdown, that process will not take as long during decommissioning. There is clearly a cost associated with acquiring the dry casks and carrying out the loading campaigns.”
It’s not a big change for the company. Indian Point has had a dry cask storage facility for many years.
“We have typically loaded around four dry casks per year since we began moving fuel assemblies to dry cask storage in December 2007,” said company spokeswoman Patricia Kakridas.”
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