Entergy Sues New York State Over Indian Point Nuclear Plant

 Entergy Sues New York State Over Indian Point Nuclear Plant

Entergy (NYSE: ETR) filed suit against the state of New York, saying two actions taken at the end of 2015 encroached on federal regulation at the Indian Point nuclear power plant.

Entergy filed with a federal court to invalidate a Nov. 6 decision from the New York Department of State to object the plant’s coastal consistency certification, a move the utility says tries to block license renewals for both reactors. Entergy’s application for 20-year license extensions has been held up with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission since 2007 because of opposition from the state. The NRC allows plants to continue operating while license extensions are under review under the federal government’s “timely renewal” provision until the NRC makes a final determination. A decision is not expected for several years.
“While states have the right to participate in the federal regulatory stakeholder process relative to nuclear power plant operations, well-established federal law – including a 2013 ruling related to Entergy’s Vermont Yankee facility – clearly precludes any state from using presumed nuclear safety issues as a basis for decision making in a state regulatory review, as NYSDOS has done with its Nov. 6 objection,” said Patricia Kakridas, spokeswoman for Entergy.
Entergy says an investigation launched after an electrical disturbance in transmission lines caused Unit 3 to shut down in December encroached on federal regulation as well.
“Aside from the coastal management objection, the latest example of the state’s attempts to encroach on the federal government’s nuclear safety management of Indian Point is an investigation of the plant, launched last month by the New York Department of Public Service,” Kakridas said. “Entergy has written a letter to the New York State Public Service commission objecting to that probe in part because it pre-empts federal regulation.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo wrote in a letter to the chair of the state PSC, dated Dec. 16, 2015,  to look into the plant’s capital and maintenance budgets and their impacts on the outages and operations.
“Indian Point operates today without a timely license for Unit 2 or Unit 3,” Cuomo said. “New York State continues to argue vehemently before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it is time to retire this aging facility.”
Indian Point provides about 25 percent of the electricity used in New York City and Westchester annually. The state says the plant’s close proximity to New York City makes it difficult to implement an efficient emergency evacuation plan.
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