May 11, 2021

Schumer, Gillibrand, Jones, Maloney, Bowman Seek Clarification On Holtec’s Plans To Ensure Transparency And Engagement With Federal, State, And Local Stakeholders Throughout Indian Point Decommissioning Process

Ahead of PSC Decision, the Bicameral Group of Lawmakers Wrote to Holtec in Continued Advocacy for Transparency, Jobs, and Community Input for Path Forward

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, Representatives Mondaire Jones, Sean Patrick Maloney and Jamaal Bowman wrote a letter to Holtec International requesting the company’s plans to hold public meetings with local Hudson Valley stakeholders. The lawmakers outlined a series of questions they requested answers to, in the hopes of ensuring transparency and good-faith engagement over the course of the Indian Point decommissioning process. 

“As the federal elected representatives for the Indian Point Energy Center (Indian Point) and the surrounding communities, we have a strong interest in providing oversight of the decommissioning process and the transfer of Indian Point’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) license from Entergy Corporation to Holtec International. Given that Indian Point is the first nuclear power plant in New York to officially retire as of April 30th, 2021, it is critical that over the course of the decommissioning process there is a clear precedent set for full transparency and good-faith engagement with federal, state, local officials and stakeholders in the Lower Hudson Valley,” wrote the lawmakers.

“While we applaud the effort of these entities to ensure the people of New York are protected as the decommissioning of Indian Point moves forward, we remain concerned about the lack of public hearings and the approved exemption requests, among other outstanding issues. In order to assist in our understanding of Holtec’s decommissioning plans for Indian Point and to clarify the proposed settlement agreement,” continued the lawmakers.

The bicameral group of lawmakers previously wrote to the new NRC chairman calling on him to ensure that the Hudson Valley community would have their voices heard during the Indian Point ownership transfer.  

Read the text of the letter here and below.

Dear Dr. Singh: 

As the federal elected representatives for the Indian Point Energy Center (Indian Point) and the surrounding communities, we have a strong interest in providing oversight of the decommissioning process and the transfer of Indian Point’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) license from Entergy Corporation to Holtec International. Given that Indian Point is the first nuclear power plant in New York to officially retire as of April 30th, 2021, it is critical that over the course of the decommissioning process there is a clear precedent set for full transparency and good-faith engagement with federal, state, local officials and stakeholders in the Lower Hudson Valley.

It is our understanding that, as currently written, within 10 business days of the New York State (NYS) Public Service Commission's (PSC) issuance of the proposed settlement agreement, the NYS Office of the Attorney General, Riverkeeper, and jointly, the Local Entities shall each submit a stipulation of dismissal of their respective petitions for review of the NRC decisions approving license transfer and regulatory exemptions, and denying the petitions for intervention and requests for hearing. While we applaud the effort of these entities to ensure the people of New York are protected as the decommissioning of Indian Point moves forward, we remain concerned about the lack of public hearings and the approved exemption requests, among other outstanding issues. In order to assist in our understanding of Holtec’s decommissioning plans for Indian Point and to clarify the proposed settlement agreement, we are requesting answers to the following questions by May 24, 2021:

  • In the proposed settlement agreement there is currently no mention of Holtecholding a public meetings with the community. What is Holtec’s plan for regular community engagement with the public regarding decommissioning activities occurring at the site?

a)       Will Holtec commit to holding at least one public meeting with the community in 2021?

b)       If yes, how will that information be communicated to the public?

  • Will Holtec commit to providing federal representatives with the agreed upon written monthly progress reports in addition to state and local officials? (see agreement page 18)[1] 
  • Holtec has agreed to provide job opportunities for over 300 of Entergy’s current employees and honor the collective bargaining agreements currently in place. For future hires, does Holtec commit to hiring locally and expanding collective bargaining agreements to cover new employees?
  • We understand that following Partial Site Release Holtec has agreed to commit $25,000 annually to emergency management response until the fiscal year in which License Termination occurs. What factors contributed to the agreed upon sum? 

a)       How will you provide emergency planning to the neighboring counties which are left out of the Emergency Response Plan agreement (Putnam, Orange, and Dutchess counties)? 

  • There are a number of environmental and public health concerns surrounding on-site storage of spent fuel and the risks posed.

a)       What are Holtec’s plans to improve the safety of on-site storage in the interim at Indian Point?

b)       How often does Holtec plan to inspect the dry casks and canisters to ensure there is no corrosion, cracking, or aging? 

c)       What is Holtec’s plan to monitor any potential leaks into the groundwater or wells in the surrounding area? Does Holtechave an emergency management plan in place if such a leak were to occur? If so, please include it in your response.

  • Within 5 years of license transfer, the proposed settlement agreement states that Holtec agrees to file a complaint against the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the recovery of all spent fuel management costs incurred after the Transaction Closing Date that are “ascertainable at that time.” Thereafter, under the proposed agreement, “Holtec agrees to seek spent fuel management cost recovery from DOE at recurring intervals not to exceed 5 years.” And, “Holtec agrees to deposit no less than 50 percent of each DOE recovery in a dedicated subaccount within the Decommissioning Trust Fund (DTF). 

a)       You have stated that Holtecexpects to recover funds from the DOE through settlement of its claims for the spent fuel management costs incurred as a result of the DOE’s breach of its obligations to dispose of Indian Point’s spent nuclear fuel. However, the NRC also approved an exemption to use the DTF on “spent fuel management.” Given this, how can the public be sure that Holtec will not treat DOE recoveries as corporate profit?  

b)       This agreement only contains a 50 percent required commitment that Holtec will reimburse the trust funds with DOE litigation recoveries. How can the public be sure that Holtecwill use the ratepayer-funded DTF for spent fuel management on site and site restoration?  

Thank you for your attention to our questions, and we look forward to receiving your prompt reply.

Sincerely,