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Entergy Officials Say Indian Point Is Unaffected By Vermont Yankee Closure

WAMC/Allison Dunne

Following word that Entergy will shut down its Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant, Entergy officials say the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York is unaffected by the closure. Indian Point opponents disagree.

Entergy announced Tuesday that it will shut down Vermont Yankee, taking it offline by the end of next year. Entergy Wholesale Commodities President Bill Mohl said the plant could neither compete against natural gas prices nor continue to bear the impacts of regulations and costs. Mohl says the decision to close Vermont Yankee, or VY, is an individual one.

Entergy Corporation announced in July it was cutting 800 jobs amid a nationwide reorganization. The layoffs include Entergy’s nuclear plants, with 75 positions to be cut at Buchanan-based Indian Point, and 35 positions at Vermont Yankee. Entergy Spokesman Jim Steets says Vermont Yankee’s closure does not impact these plans, or reinstate positions. However, he says it is possible some Vermont Yankee employees could relocate to other Entergy plants, including Indian Point.

Paul Gallay is president of Westchester-based environmental group Riverkeeper.

In 2010, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation denied a water quality permit for Indian Point, a permit that is necessary for relicensing. Entergy is contesting that denial, and the case is under review. The operating license for Indian Point Two expires in September, and the license for Indian Point Three runs through December of 2015. Indian Point Two will continue to operate until the Nuclear Regulatory Commission renders a decision, which will not be for at least another year. Entergy’s Steets says there is no connection between relicensing Indian Point and closing Vermont Yankee.

He also says there is little connection between the reasons for closing Vermont Yankee and the status of Indian Point. He says Indian Point produces four times the amount of electricity than Vermont Yankee, with a much different revenue stream and market.

Riverkeeper’s Gallay says there is a connection.

He argues there are potential costs for Indian Point that could call into question the plant’s viability, such as if Indian Point has to replace its so-called once-through cooling system with a  closed cycle cooling system, as New York State regulators would like and which Entergy is challenging.

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