The NYS Public Service Commission is holding a public hearing on the Indian Point license transfer from Entergy to Comprehensive Decommissioning International, LLC (CDI) (a joint venture of Holtec International and SNC-Lavalin), the company that would decommission the plant.
Since the Nuclear Regulatory Commission denied calls for a public hearing, this is the only opportunity for public comment on the license transfer! The PSC must use their jurisdiction to deny this license transfer based on the serious concerns outlined below.
Holtec and SNC-Lavalin have a long history of malfeasance, safety violations, financial misdealings, bribery, and corruption. This track record should disqualify Holtec from obtaining the licence to decommission Indian Point and gain control of the $1.6 billion Decommissioning Trust Fund.
Take this opportunity to submit a comment urging the Public Service Commission to reject the license transfer in the best interests of New York State.
Some sample comments are provided below.
Holtec’s financial solvency is in question:
Holtec’s structures are privately held corporations and their finances are therefore opaque. Holtec’s business model is based on maximally leveraging the Decommissioning Trust Fund (DTF), which was created by ratepayer dollars, for their own profit – at the expense of public health and safety.
On February 12, 2020, New York State (NYS) Attorney General James filed a petition, on behalf of the state of New York, to intervene in the license transfer, arguing that the transfer violates the NRC's rules for approving a nuclear facility license transfer. Attorney General James also requested that the NRC hold a public hearing on whether the proposed Holtec licensees have demonstrated financial qualification, whether they have shown adequate decommissioning financial assurance, and whether their decommissioning plans will actually ensure adequate funding for decommissioning and the other activities for which Holtec sought to use the decommissioning trusts, particularly spent fuel management. If the Attorney General has serious concerns about Holtec’s financial solvency, the PSC must act to deny the license transfer.
Holtec’s plan for nuclear waste storage is currently impossible under Federal law:
Holtec plans to use “Consolidated Interim Storage (CIS)” for the waste currently at Indian Point. However, this is currently illegal under Federal Law and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is currently being sued for permitting Holtec to build a CIS facility in New Mexico. Without this facility, Holtec’s plan for Indian Point’s irradiated spent fuel is impossible. This sets up a scenario where New York could be left with Indian Point’s waste in some state of limbo where it has nowhere to go, but is not packaged or stored properly on-site. This is an unacceptable risk for NY and the PSC should deny the license transfer.
Holtec has never completed decommissioning of a nuclear power plant:
Holtec has never completed decommissioning of a nuclear power plant. Their current model of ‘fleet decommissioning’ is in its infancy, its first decommissioning job is Oyster Creek, which it acquired in July 2019. Its entire nuclear “fleet” was acquired less than a year ago. They are acquiring multiple nuclear plants all over the country with plans that rely on changes to Federal law to complete their decommissioning. New Yorkers should not be left responsible for the clean up of Indian Point if Holtec’s scheme fails, Federal law does not change, or they run out of money before completion. Given this lack of experience and secured plan, the PSC should deny the license transfer.
Holtec has a poor safety record:
While Holtec has never completed decommissioning of a nuclear plant before, they have a history of mishandling nuclear waste, hiding safety violations, and changing processes without approval from the NRC. In public meetings with the Village of Buchanan, when asked about their safety record, they mislead the public that they had never had any problems. They failed to mention any of the issues they’d faced with waste storage, and failed to mention that they had only just recently purchased licenses to begin decommissioning and thus had no history to refer to.
Holtec’s plan to move waste is a violation of Environmental Justice:
Holtec’s plan for Indian Point’s irradiated spent fuel is to change Federal law and move the waste to a new “consolidated interim storage facility” in New Mexico. Disregarding the logistical hurdles of moving the waste, the communities that would receive it, do not want it there. Both New Mexico and Texas oppose the construction of the Holtect facility. The Public Service Commission to respect the wishes of the communities in New Mexico and reject Holtec’s license transfer.
Holtec puts profit over public safety:
Clean Water Action confirms that Holtec put costs ahead of safety by hiring low-skilled, unqualified workers who are not familiar with the plant at Oyster Creek, by stopping funding to local first responders who are responsible for implementing an emergency response plan, and by ignoring concerns of local officials.
The Public Service Commission must set a strong precedent in overseeing nuclear decommissioning:
Indian Point is the first of the fully operational nuclear power plants in New York to be closed and undergo decommissioning. As the state navigates this process for the first time it is imperative that the Public Service Commission set a strong precedent in ensuring the process is done in the best interests of the state. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission refused to hold public hearings to address public concerns. The PSC must exert their jurisdiction over this matter and protect NY. We need decommissioning done using best practices. Holtec’s track record with nuclear waste proves they do not follow best practices in the industry, and their lack of decommissioning experience leaves New Yorkers at risk of being left with an unfinished job and an empty Decommissioning Trust Fund. New Yorkers deserve better than Holtect to undertake decommissioning the first operational nuclear power plant in New York State.