A task force of state and local officials will try to help the village of Buchanan and town of Cortlandt prepare for the shutdown of Indian Point Energy Center, which employs 1,050 people among its two nuclear reactors.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the task force on Tuesday, shortly before the state Legislature held a hearing questioning the plan to close the nuclear plant. Entergy Corp., the plant’s operator, will shut down both reactors by 2021 as part of a deal to settle litigation with the state and the Ossining-based environmental group Riverkeeper.
While Entergy says the plant no longer made financial sense for the company, legislators in Albany questioned state and Entergy officials on the economic impact of losing hundreds of jobs at the plant and the energy it provides. The two reactors generate 2,000 megawatts of power, enough for about a quarter of the demand in Westchester and New York City.
The task force will address employment and property tax impacts of the closing. The Hendrick Hudson School District, for example, estimates that it stands to lose more than $23 million, or 30 percent, from its operating budget without tax dollars from Entergy.
The task force will also monitor compliance with the closure agreement. The state has authority, along with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to inspect the plant during its final years of operation. Entergy also agreed to move a set number of spent fuel rods yearly from storage pools to dry cask storage on site.
Tax payments from Entergy will remain in place through 2021 and ramp down gradually following the plant’s closing, according to Cuomo’s office. In addition, Entergy will also offer employees jobs at other facilities, while the state has pledged to provide training and additional jobs to laid off workers.
The task force will be led by the state Department of Public Service. Its members will include:
• state Sen. Terrence Murphy
• Assemblywoman Sandy Galef
• Catherine Borgia, majority leader of the Westchester County Board of Legislators
• John G. Testa, minority leader of the Westchester County Board of Legislators
• Cortlandt Town SupervisorLinda D. Puglisi
• Joseph Hochreiter, Hendrick Hudson School District superintendent
• Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker.