* New York governor wants Indian Point shut
* Entergy wants to run reactors for 20 more years
* Indian Point current licenses expire in 2013, 2015
By Scott DiSavino
Nov 28 New York energy regulators told power
companies in New York City to develop plans to keep the lights
on in the Big Apple in case the giant Indian Point nuclear power
plant, which supplies about a quarter of the city's electricity,
is forced to shut down.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants the two reactors at
Indian Point shut when their operating licenses expire in 2013
and 2015 in part because the nuclear plant is located in the New
York metropolitan area, home to some 19 million people.
The governor has said even the most unlikely possibility of
an accident is too much in the heavily populated area.
U.S. power company Entergy Corp, which owns Indian
Point, says, however, the plant is safe, and the company is
seeking to extend the reactors' licenses for another 20 years.
The 2,063-megawatt (MW) Indian Point plant is about 40 miles
(60 km) north of Manhattan along the Hudson River.
"Entergy and its employees continuously demonstrate the
plants are safely operated, and is committed to safely operating
this important facility for many more years to come," Entergy
spokesman Jerry Nappi told Reuters Wednesday in an email.
On Tuesday, the state's energy regulator, New York Public
Service Commission (NYPSC), directed New York City power company
Consolidated Edison Inc to work with the New York Power
Authority (NYPA) to develop a contingency plan to address the
needs that would arise in the event Indian Point shuts down.
NYPA is a state-owned power generator that supplies
electricity to government customers in New York City, including
schools, hospitals, government buildings, subways and commuter
"We will comply with the Commission's directive to work with
the New York Power Authority to develop a contingency plan
addressing the needs that would arise in the event of an Indian
Point shutdown," Con Edison told Reuters in an emailed
A shutdown of Indian Point, without sufficient alternatives,
would threaten electric system reliability and potentially raise
electric market prices, Con Ed said.
Several energy companies have already proposed power plants
and transmission lines that could partially replace Indian
Point, including units of NRG Energy Inc, Brookfield
Asset Management Inc, BP Plc, Calpine Corp
, GenOn Energy Inc and Iberdrola SA.
ENTERGY SEEKS NEW LICENSES
To keep the reactors running over the next couple of
decades, Entergy filed with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory
Commission (NRC) in 2007 to renew the Indian Point licenses.
A decision by the NRC commissioners on the licenses might
not happen for years, as agency judges are still holding
hearings on challenges to the plant's continued operation.
Entergy, however, can continue to operate the reactors even
after their licenses expire so long as the federal renewal
process is ongoing.
The three judges at the NRC's Atomic Safety and Licensing
Board (ASLB), which serves as the agency's judicial arm, started
evidentiary hearings near the plant in October to consider 10
complaints raised by New York State and two public interest
groups, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater Inc and Riverkeeper Inc.
The NRC has scheduled several days of hearings through at
least mid-December. On Wednesday, the NRC said it did not know
when, or if, a second round of hearings would be scheduled and
that a decision on the challenges would likely come months after
the hearings are done.
SANDY PROMPTS ACTION
The contingency plan for Indian Point was one of Governor
Cuomo's Energy Highway Blueprint proposals issued by a task
force in October.
Cuomo proposed the Energy Highway plan in January to
modernize the state's energy infrastructure.
The state's Public Service Commission said it decided to
move forward this week on three proposals in the Energy Highway
Blueprint, including the Indian Point proposal, because of
Sandy caused billions of dollars of damage and left millions
of New Yorkers in the dark - some for more than two weeks -
after striking the U.S. East Coast in late October.
The other Blueprint recommendations the Public Service
Commission said it has decided move forward on now are proposals
to build over 1,000 MW of new transmission capacity between
upstate New York and New York City, at an estimated cost of $1
billion, and proposals to expand the state's use of natural gas
by residential and business customers.
One megawatt can power about 1,000 homes in New York.