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Deborah Milone: As Indian Point closing nears, Hudson Valley needs recovery plan, not more obstruction

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On April 30, 2021, Indian Point Energy Center will finally cease operations. As the Deborah Milonepresident of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce, I know firsthand how vital a force Indian Point has been for our communities: it’s provided clean, reliable energy for more than 50 years; the jobs it’s created have powered our local economy; the taxes it’s paid have funded our municipal governments, schools, libraries, and first responders; and its charitable contributions have helped enrich the lives of our children, families, and cultural institutions.

Indian Point’s closing creates many challenges. It’s up to us to ensure that we prepare as wisely and quickly as possible for the Hudson Valley’s future without it.

Once Indian Point stops generating electricity, the plants will need to be decommissioned. This must be done according to very strict federal and state regulations, with the approval of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

If Entergy, Indian Point’s current owner/operator, were to perform the decommissioning process itself, it would likely take upwards of 60 years. This is why Entergy is seeking to transfer the plant’s license to Holtec International, a company that specializes in the storage of spent fuel and, with its partners, in the decommissioning of nuclear power plants. Through Holtec’s knowledge, innovation and use of specialized technology, the process to safely decommission Indian Point can be completed nearly 40 years sooner.

Returning the Indian Point site to new uses is essential to the Hudson Valley’s future prosperity; we need new enterprises, jobs, and tax revenues to support and strengthen our communities. Holtec and its partners plan on preparing to release portions of the site for reuse as early as the 2030s, and the team’s decades of experience prove that we can be confident in its capabilities and safety.

Holtec’s innovations in spent-fuel storage have been deployed at over 110 plants in the United States and in numerous countries around the world. Even better, Holtec is already a trusted partner with Entergy, as the company’s dry cask storage designs and products have been in use for over ten years at Indian Point.

Holtec will also work with Entergy to extend Indian Point’s economic benefits to the Hudson Valley throughout the decommissioning process by hiring many current employees whose expertise will be important. Holtec’s use of technology will minimize disruption of the land, water, and air at and around the site to ensure that our environment is protected and preserved.

Losing Indian Point is going to be tough for us, but having its license transferred to Holtec in a timely manner will allow for potential new opportunities at the site—which means jobs, economic growth, revenues, and thriving institutions to support our families and the generations to come.

Unfortunately, some of the same activists who fought to shut down Indian Point now seek to obstruct progress on the decommissioning that they made necessary – essentially, pouring salt into the wound they created for our communities. They’re not helping us; nor are certain elected officials, who recently said they want to slow down the license transfer process. As a 30-year resident of Peekskill, I can tell these opponents that we, the people who live and work here, are the ones who will suffer the direct losses of Indian Point’s closure. Therefore, we need decommissioning and repurposing of the site to proceed safely and expeditiously.

Our post-Indian Point recovery offers an enormous opportunity for the Hudson Valley – and now’s the time for us to support Entergy’s license transfer to Holtec as it’s being considered by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and state regulators. There’s no reason to wait any longer, and not a moment to waste.

Deborah Milone is president of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce. She also serves on the Government Action Committee of The Business Council of Westchester and as an advisory board member of the New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance. She can be reached at dmilone@hvgatewaychamber.com.

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