Fall 2020 Virtual Regional Decommissioning Forum

Friday, November 20 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.


Welcoming Remarks by Westchester County Legislator Colin Smith, who will introduce County Legislator Catherine Borgia to moderate.  

Update on Indian Point License Transfer Application (LTA) pending before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

o   License Transfer Update, including dangers of Holtec, who has a long history of malfeasance — update from last year.  Richard Webster, Riverkeeper (slides)

o   NYS Office of Attorney General Contentions to NRC on LTA:  Joshua M. Tallent, Assistant Attorneys General, Environmental Protection Bureau

o   Congressional Delegation’s Call for Hearing on LTA:  Megan Glander, Regional Director for Senator Schumer and Lisa Hofflich, Hudson Valley Regional Director for Senator Gillibrand, will cite a letter from multiple elected officials calling for a public hearing before the NRC makes a decision on the LTA and the Post-Shutdown Activities Report (PDSAR)

NYS Decommissioning Oversight Board (DOB) and related legislation to protect the community. 

o   DOB sponsors, NYS Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and NYS Senator Peter Harckham, will explain the importance of this groundbreaking legislation for Indian Point and the three other nuclear power plants in western NY, as well other related legislation passed this year.

Panel of Representatives of Reactor Communities:  Local Voices of Experience:  Update from 2019 presentations for nearby reactor communities being decommissioned by Holtec in MA and NJ

o   Oyster Creek NJ — Janet Tauro, Clean Water Action of NJ will explain Lacey Township Lawsuit, whereby Holtec ignored a stop work order; also the reason Holtec is under criminal investigation in NJ. 

o   Pilgrim, MA – Mary Lampert, Pilgrim Watch:  Update on Massachusetts Attorney General’s proceedings against Holtec  (slides)

o   Zion IL  Recording of Mayor Billy McKinney of Zion, IL.

o   Consolidated Interim Storage (CIS) — Leona Morgan, Diné/Navajo activist, founder of the Nuclear Information Study Group (NISG), will explain the proposed CIS plans for NM and TX, including  related to CIS.   (slides)

Q & A Panel Discussion: Clearwater Environmental Action Director, Manna Jo Greene, will join Legislator Borgia in moderating this panel discussion with all of the presenters. Elected officials and Task Force and NDCAP members will be given priority when asking questions.


Sponsors:  Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Riverkeeper, SEnRG, NYS Assemblymember Sandy Galef, NYS Senator Peter Harckham, Westchester County Legislators Colin Smith and Catherine Borgia and others. 

Invitees: Invitations were actively extended to key stakeholder and decision-makers, and to the media.  This included Federal, State and local elected and appointed officials, including the NYS PSC; members of the Indian Point State and Local Task Forces, the NDCAP and others.  The Forum is free and open to the public.   

For further information:  Manna Jo Greene, Environmental Director, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater: mannajo@clearwater.org  845-265-8080 x 7113  or Matt Salton, Clearwater Environmental Associate at matt@clearwater.org  914-844-9821


Background Information: 

This online forum with elected officials, experts, and advocates provided information on an issue of the highest importance for this region: the future of the Indian Point nuclear plant.  Indian Point will permanently cease operations in April 2021 and is entering the decommissioning phase.  The current owner Entergy wants out, and has tapped a subsidiary of Holtec International to take over the plant’s licenses.  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is widely expected to approve the license transfer to Holtec soon — but there are problems with and widespread opposition to Holtec’s ownership of Indian Point. 

Holtec would bring no money of its own to Indian Point’s decommissioning, and has not offered the financial assurance needed to demonstrate it can complete this massive and difficult job.  Its business model involves laying claim to billions of dollars in public money (including Indian Point’s Decommissioning Trust Fund and Department of Energy funds), and keeping as much of it as possible for its own profit.  Holtec lacks experience with nuclear plant decommissioning, and what experience it has does not inspire confidence.  It claims it can decommission Indian Point in record time, but it’s feared Holtec, which would own the plant via a limited liability corporation, could walk away with the job half done, leaving New York to shoulder the cost of cleaning up the site and managing high-level radioactive waste.  

As Indian Point’s licensee, Holtec would also have the power to make highly consequential decommissioning decisions with little or no oversight from the NRC.  For example, it proposes only superficial cleanup of contaminated soils, plans to do nothing at all about the radioactive contamination of groundwater and the Hudson River at the site, and envisions shipping high-level radioactive waste by barge down the Hudson.  

Holtec’s track record casts serious doubt on its qualifications to make decisions with such far-reaching consequences for public health and safety.  It includes cutting corners and qualified workers at other reactor sites, near-miss disasters in spent fuel handling, repeated dismissal of public concern and input, and a long history of malfeasance including bribery, fraud, and being barred by the World Bank and the Tennessee Valley Authority.  The company is currently under criminal investigation in New Jersey.

Last month Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Representatives Lowey, Engel and Maloney wrote to the NRC requesting a hearing to air their concerns before the NRC approves license transfer to Holtec. Citizen’s groups have filed contentions in the process making the case why Holtec must not be approved as Indian Point’s licensee. 

So far, the NRC has offered no hearings, and has not adjudicated the contentions against Holtec.  NRC approval of license transfer to Holtec is expected in the next few weeks.  But New Yorkers are far from powerless in this matter. The New York State Public Service Commission must also approve the license transfer, and that process is being contested.  The State Legislature has introduced a bill establishing a Decommissioning Oversight Board (DOB) which would give relevant state agencies meaningful oversight over decommissioning decisions, which may well pass in the next legislative session.

The November 20 briefing features elected officials and advocates who are challenging license transfer to Holtec and supporting DOB legislation.  It also features watchdog groups from other reactor communities where Holtec has acquired nuclear plants, discussing their experiences with the company.





Other Resources:

~  Special thanks also to the Birches Foundation for making this event possible.  ~

For further information: Manna Jo Greene, Environmental Director, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater: mannajo@clearwater.org or Matt Salton, Environmental Action Associate: matt@clearwater.org