What to Know
- The controversial Indian Point nuclear plant will close by 2021 under a deal between New York state and plant owner Entergy, sources say
- The governor and environmental advocates like Riverkeeper have long called for the plant's shutdown
- It's not clear how the state would replace the source of energy from Indian Point, but it may signal a new shift to renewable energy
The Indian Point nuclear plant in Westchester will shut down by 2021 under a deal reached between New York state and Entergy, the utility company that owns the facility, sources with knowledge of the deal told NBC 4 New York.
One of the two nuclear reactors at the plant will stop operating by April 2020, and then the other will close by April 2021, The New York Times first reported.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has long called for shutting down the plant, which has the capacity to generate more than 2,000 megawatts, or about a quarter of the power consumed in New York City and Westchester, according to the Times. He's advocated for using renewable energy instead, though the cost implications for the state aren't clear.
For decades, the families who live in the shadow of the two towering nuclear reactors have been divided between embracing the energy which powers thousands of homes and businesses, and the worry about its potential danger.
"The reported leaks throughout the years, it's concerning for our grandchildren that live in the area," said Peggy Dascoli of Yorktown Heights.
Christopher McNamee of Buchanan, however, said it was his understanding that "nuclear power is the cleanest type of power there is."
Neither the governor's office nor Entergy would confirm the deal, but sources say an agreement has been worked out and all that awaits finalization is the governor's signature. That could come as soon as Monday.
The plant, which sits on the eastern shore of the Hudson River, first opened in the 1970s and employs about 1,000 workers, according to The Journal News.
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican who ran against Cuomo in the 2014 gubernatorial race, told NBC 4 the planned closing of the plant is a "complete surprise" and that it's "potentially catastrophic" because of the millions in taxes that Entergy pays.
"The economic impact is enormous," said Astorino. "People will lose their job and cost of living will go up."
Cuomo has repeatedly said the operation of Indian Point is too hazardous so close to New York City. More than 17 million people live within 50 miles of the plant, which sits along the lower Hudson River 30 miles north of the city.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, also a Democrat, said in a statement, "If we can shut down Indian Point under an agreement that enhances public safety and kickstarts investments into safer and more reliable renewable energy sources, that will be a victory for the millions of New Yorkers who live in the region."
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat, said he's wanted to responsibly phase out operations at Indian Point "since day one," pointing to safety issues in recent years, including faulty baffle bolts and contaminated water leaks.
“But let me be clear – this agreement must include concrete plans to protect the jobs of hundreds of New Yorkers and keep energy prices low for my neighbors in the Hudson Valley," Maloney said in a statement. "We can balance safety concerns with the security of local jobs and low energy bills and I will continue working with New York State to ensure the burden of shutting down Indian Point isn’t placed on the backs of hardworking folks in the Hudson Valley."