Entergy, the license holder for Indian Point, wants to sell to Holtec for the decommissioning of Indian Point.
The company has run into opposition in its bid to decommission Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Massachusetts. They are planning an accelerated decommissioning schedule, something the company has never tried before and have proposed the same practice for Indian Point. Interesting that the League of Women Voters is involved.
PLYMOUTH – The Nuclear Regulatory Commissioncontinues to draw fire from Plymouth residents for its announcement that it plans to approve the license transfer application of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station to Holtec Inc.
The Plymouth Area League of Women voters sent a letter to the NRC chair protesting “in the strongest terms” the decision to grant the license transfer application on or about Aug. 21. It also objected to the decision to deny the Massachusetts attorney general’s request for a 90-day stay and urged the NRC to reconsider “in light of strong state and local opposition.”
Dated Aug. 19, the letter was addressed to Kristine L. Svinicki, NRC chair, and was signed by Henrietta Consentino, chair of the Nuclear Affairs Committee of the Plymouth Area LWV. This letter comes on the heels of a petition by a local activist, which has been posted on the town’s website, demanding Holtec negotiate in good faith.
In the letter, Consentino states, “Both the Town of Plymouth and the Commonwealth have legitimate concerns about the financial accountability of the prospective licensee, its finances and its plans for safety, security, monitoring and emergency response during the period of decommissioning.”
The LWV letter cites Holtec and its partner SNC-Lavalin as having “dubious histories of bribe-taking.” It also stated that the NRC plan to approve the LTA “communicates a blatant disregard for the public interest.”
In an interview Tuesday, Consentino stated the Plymouth Area LWV found it “quite distressing” that the NRC had taken these actions.
“We are very concerned that the NRC has not vetted the participants in this sale carefully,” she said. “Or, if they have, it doesn’t care.”
Current owner Entergy Inc. announced earlier this year that it wanted to transfer its license to Holtec. Entergy planned to decommission the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth under a 60-year cleanup plan, which is allowed by the NRC. Proposed owner Holtec said it intended to handle the decommissioning in only eight years.
Critics are concerned about Holtec’s ability to do what it says it can do: clean up all radioactive material at Plymouth’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, which ceased operations on May 31, in less time. One of the company’s divisions – Holtec Decommissioning Inc. – would be responsible for this effort, even though it has never decommissioned a nuclear power plant on an accelerated timeline before.
It is believed that Holtec will attempt to clean up the site in eight years using the $1.1 billion decommissioning fund and pocket as profit whatever is left over. However, critics are concerned that the fund is insufficient for the task and that Holtec might walk away from the project, leaving the town and state to finish it. The fund was created with ratepayer money specifically allotted for decommissioning operations.
Also of concern is the parent company’s legal problems. Holtec is facing numerous allegations of unethical and illegal actions in regards to its business practices. According to ProPublica, Politico and other media sources, the company has been accused of failing to disclose important details about legal proceedings against it, including that it had been temporarily banned from working with a federal agency for paying $50,000 to secure a contract, had tax credits revoked for noncompliance and that its CEO was questioned as part of a criminal investigation.
When contacted for comment, spokesman Joe Delmar of Holtec repeated an earlier statement:
“Entergy and Holtec believe that the transfer of Pilgrim to Holtec for prompt decommissioning is in the best interests of the town of PIymouth and surrounding communities, the nearly 270 people from the region who work at Pilgrim, and the Commonwealth. We are confident that the license transfer application demonstrated that Holtec possesses the technical and financial qualifications required to safely decommission Pilgrim. We look forward to completing the transaction if regulatory approval is obtained.”