For more than a decade, Governor Andrew Cuomo has been trying to close Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. And the state is close to an agreement to shut it down permanently by the year 2021.
"We are incredibly excited that the governor shares our view that the Indian Point nuclear facility is incredibly dangerous, particularly for the millions of New Yorkers who live within 50 miles of the facility," said Alex Beauchamp of Food and Water Watch.
As part of the agreement, the state and the environmental group Riverkeeper will drop safety claims made against the plant and Entergy. Indian Point had been seeking a 20-year renewal of its licenses through the nuclear regulatory agency, but instead Entergy will look for only a six-year lease. The two reactors' licenses expired in 2013 and 2015.
But the problem with closing the facility has always been that New York City and Westchester get roughly 25 percent of their power from the nuclear reactors located in Buchanan, New York, which is about about 35 miles up the Hudson River from there.
"We need to move to 100 percent renewable energy, and we need to do it incredibly quickly," Beauchamp said. "So, the sooner we get off of fossil fuels, the sooner we get off of old dirty fuels like nuclear power, the better. And it's going to take a huge ramp-up of renewables."
The Cuomo administration was clearly not ready for this information, which was first reported by The New York Times, to come out. In a statement, Governor Cuomo's spokesperson Richard Azzopardi said, "There is no agreement - Governor Cuomo has been working on a possible agreement for 15 years and until it's done, it's not done. Close only counts for horseshoes, not for nuclear plants."
A spokesperson for Entergy declined to comment. Indian Point has been up and running in New York State since 1962.