FAQs

  • When did Unit 1, Unit 2 and 3 shut down?

    Unit 1 shut down in 1974. Unit 2 shut down in April 2020. Unit 3 shut down on April 30, 2021. Holtec International’s subsidiaries completed the acquisition of the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, New York from Entergy Corporation on May 28, 2021.

  • When did Holtec acquire Indian Point?

    Entergy sold its subsidiaries that owned Indian Point Energy Center on May 28, 2021 to a Holtec International subsidiaries, which plan to complete major decommissioning activities sooner than if Entergy had continued to own the facility. The NRC approved the transfer of Indian Point’s licenses to Holtec in November 2020 and the New York State Public Service Commission approved the transfer on May 19, 2021. The agencies found that Holtec possesses the required technical and financial qualifications to own and decommission Indian Point safely and in accordance with regulatory requirements.

  • How many years will decommissioning of IPEC take?

    Holtec submitted a Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR) and a Decommissioning Cost Estimate in December 2019. The PSDAR provides a detailed timetable for the project with partial site release expected within 12-15 years.

  • Is there enough money available in the Nuclear Decommissioning Trust Funds?

    Based off its Decommissioning Cost Estimate (DCE), Holtec is confident that sufficient funding is available to safely complete decommissioning. Management and use of the Nuclear Decommissioning Trust Funds (DTFs) are regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Though the DTFs are expected to continue to grow, NRC regulations only allow licensees to assume a conservative minimum two percent real rate of return which takes inflation and other cost increases into consideration. In addition, licensees are required to submit an annual report to the NRC on decommissioning costs.

  • If the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approves the use of Nuclear Decommissioning Trust Funds money for spent fuel management and these costs are reimbursed by the Department of Energy (DOE), does the DOE reimbursement go back into the trust fund?

    The cash flow analyses submitted by Holtec are conservative in that they do not assume that any costs recovered from the DOE (through litigation or settlement) will be deposited back into the trust fund. Even without taking credit for these DOE recovered costs, the cash flow analyses demonstrate that there are more than sufficient funds in the IPEC DTFs to pay for all estimated license termination/radiological decommissioning, spent fuel management, and site restoration costs.

  • Do the ratepayers get any money that is left in the Nuclear Decommissioning Trust Funds after decommissioning has been completed?

    After Entergy’s acquisition of Indian Point in 2001, New York ratepayers did not bear the risk regarding the adequacy of the Nuclear Decommissioning Trust Funds (DTFs) relative to the eventual costs of decommissioning. Consistent with that allocation of risk, any DTFs remaining after all financial obligations to complete decommissioning have been satisfied will remain with the owner of the trust.

  • Who works at Indian Point now?

    About 300 highly trained individuals work full-time at Indian Point, most of whom worked for the previous owner, Entergy. Holtec is honoring all existing collective bargaining agreements.

  • Will Holtec import contractors from outside the area or use non-union contractors to perform decommissioning?

    Holtec’s decommissioning team has a National Labor Agreement (NLA) in place with the Laborers’ International Union of North America, Operating Engineers of North America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Working through these unions, local union halls near Indian Point have been identified to provide the necessary skilled labor needed to safely execute and complete decommissioning.

  • How will emergency planning change at Indian Point after shutdown?

    Changes to the Indian Point emergency plan will be made with NRC approval, corresponding with the reduced risk of an event at the site through the various stages of decommissioning. With Unit 3 shut down and the reactor permanently defueled, the risk of an event significantly decreases and the Emergency Planning Zone (formerly a 10-mile radius around the plant) eventually will be reduced to the site boundary with NRC approval of the Emergency Plan change. There are still emergency procedures station employees must follow, but they are primarily based on industrial risk, not radiological risk. Any proposed changes would be consistent with other decommissioning plants and require approval by the NRC.

  • When will spent fuel be moved out of the spent fuel spools and into dry cask storage? How many casks will be used to hold all of Indian Point’s spent nuclear fuel?

    All spent nuclear fuel will be moved out of the spent fuel pools and into dry cask storage by second quarter of 2024; there will be 125 casks in dry storage by the second quarter of 2024.

  • Will the ground water at Indian Point continue to be monitored for tritium?

    Yes, monitoring of ground water will be maintained throughout decommissioning and up to the point of the NRC approved partial site release.

  • How will Holtec transport the pieces of the plant after they tear it down?

    Each material and waste type will be managed on site, prepared for shipment and transported in accordance with New York Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Transportation requirements.

  • Where will the pieces of the plant be sent? Where will any contaminated soil be sent?

    All management of materials from the site will meet New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York Department of Transportation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and U.S. Department of Transportation requirements. This ensures that all material is managed in accordance with the material category (Solid Waste, Recyclables/Reusables, Hazardous Waste and Radioactive Waste). Final disposition will occur at permitted, licensed and registered facilities.

  • If a barge is used, what happens if the barge sinks?

    The types of materials that can be transported by barge are tightly controlled. This includes specific containment requirements, transport safety features, limitation on shipping routes and impacts from weather conditions. In addition, there is required backup equipment for towing and managing buoyance, so that in the unlikely event of a transportation incident, the material will be contained or able to proceed to a safe location for further management.

  • If a truck is used, what happens if there is a major accident and irradiated material is released?

    All materials and waste type will be prepared and transported in accordance with both New York and United States Department of Transportation requirements. These requirements ensure that any hazardous materials are controlled and monitored during transport and any high hazard materials have containers designed to prevent release in accident conditions.

  • What is Holtec’s plan for the Indian Point site after it has completed decommissioning?

    Holtec has no immediate plans for the site at this time.

  • How thick will the walls of the dry casks be at Indian Point?

    The Holtec’s HI-STORM 100 systems consist of three main components, which includes the overpack, the Multi-Purpose Canister (MPC) and the lids.

    1. Overpack – 27 ¾”
      1. Concrete – 27”
      2. Exterior Steel Surround – ¾”
    2. Multi-Purpose Canister (MPC) – ½” Stainless Steel
      1. This holds the spent fuel inside a basket of stainless steel and a Metamic Neutron absorber.
    3. MPC Lid – 9.5” Stainless Steel
    4. Overpack Lid – 19” Steel and Concrete
  • How long do the spent fuel rods have to stay in pools before being transported to dry cask? You indicated earlier that the process would be completed in 2024. I was not aware this could be done in less than 3 years.

    Advances in technology in the industry have shortened the time required for fuel to be stored in the spent fuel pool after leaving the reactor. Advances include the use of new innovative materials used in the construction of the fuel assembly baskets and MPCs.

    As an example, our Pilgrim facility in Massachusetts closed in May of 2019, with all fuel removed from the reactor and placed into the pool by mid-June 2019. With the continued use of innovative technologies, Pilgrim will have moved all fuel from the pool and placed on the pad by December 2021.

  • Does the overpack become radioactive over time?

    As indicated in the Safety Evaluation Report, the overpack is designed to become slightly radioactive over time. Although the overpack does become slightly radioactive over time, work activities around an overpack are able to be performed safely with no additional protective measures needed to be taken by personnel.

  • What is the process to check and ensure the integrity of these casks over time?

    As part of Holtec’s robust aging management program, there are regularly planned inspections of canisters that will examine the entire surface of the canister. If these inspections find any deficiency with the canister, repacking would occur well in advanced of any deficiencies developing into a leak.

  • What are the checks and balances for oversight of this management and storage?

    The NRC, as an independent regulator, would act as the check and balance to the robust aging management program Holtec will have in place at IPEC to maintain integrity of the casks.

  • What are the safety precautions that are being implemented while the spent fuel is still in the pools and during transfer to the casks?

    Safety is our number #1 priority at Holtec.

    The process of moving and storing spent nuclear fuel is one that follows rigorous processes and procedures that Holtec has been implementing for more than 30 years. There are multiple back-up systems, including redundant pumps and back-up power supplies, that are put into place to ensure the fuel in the pool remains cool for the needed time until it is safely transferred, underwater, into the MPC before being vacuum dried, welded, backfilled with an inert gas, and loaded into an overpack and safely moved to the ISFSI pad.

  • How long is the canister and overpack expected to last? How long does the canister last? 1000 years or 100 years? What is the life expectancy of the cask?

    The life expectancy of the stainless-steel canister, which is the primary containment of the spent nuclear fuel, varies based on the environment. However, conservative estimates put the life expectancy of the canister at hundreds of years given the system is both robust and has no active components.

    Initially, the NRC licenses each system for a 20-year period with the ability, based on aging management program and inspection, to renew the license for an additional 40 years. This renewal process goes through extensive review and inspection.

  • Can you open the casks for inspection once it is welded or bolted?

    Yes, Holtec’s overpack can be opened and are opened as part of the aging management program to inspect the MPC.

  • How many assemblies are in each MPC at IPEC?

    32 assemblies of IPEC’s fuel can fit in each MPC. Each assembly is made up of fuel rods, and each rod contains uranium-oxide fuel pellets. In the IPEC fuel, there are 225 rods per assembly. 

  • Should something go wrong how is the canister removed from the overpack and replaced?

    In the highly unlikely event that a multi-purpose canister (MPC), protected by an overpack with 27 inches of steel and concrete surrounding the MPC were to leak, the temporary solution would be to place the MPC in a HI-STAR 100 transportation overpack.

    Because no such leak has ever occurred from a Holtec MPC, with 20 years of system usage, as the licensed owner of the system, as well as the manufacturer of the system, we would work to bring the canister back into the required compliance under NRC regulations. As always, our priority remains on the safe, secure storage of all spent fuel in our systems and pride ourselves on the innovations Holtec has brought to the industry regarding fuel storage.

  • What entity is responsible for the aging management program inspections?

    The owner/license-holder of the ISFSI will be responsible for the aging management program and the inspections, and this is performed under the regulatory jurisdiction of the NRC.

  • Have you taken into account the gas lines running alongside IPEC? Are the canisters robust enough to withstand a pipeline fire?

    Yes, as part of Holtec’s proposed decommissioning activities, Holtec has considered the impacts from those activities. In the event that the remediation requires clean-up in the areas adjacent to the utilities, we will coordinate with the relevant stakeholders to ensure the work is performed in a manner that is safe and in compliance with all requirements.

    Furthermore, all decommissioning activities will be carried out under controlled work processes and procedures that will ensure no vital systems, structures or components at the site (such as gas lines and power transmission lines) are damaged or their functionality compromised. In addition, the location of the IPEC ISFSI pads are not located close to the pipelines on site. The casks are designed and built to resist multiple beyond design basis events including fire, earthquakes, projectiles, tornadoes, floods, temperature extremes and other natural and manmade scenarios.

  • The site has radioactive groundwater. How will you repurpose the site without cleaning that up?

    Site remediation and clean-up are cornerstones of the decommissioning project. We will perform extensive site characterization, based on historical data from Entergy and previous owners, as well as address any information gaps to ensure we identify and remediate all hazards according to state and federal regulations. This characterization and clean-up process will continue for the entirety of the project to meet those requirements to allow for partial site release (everything but the spent fuel pad) and site reuse.

  • What kind of technology do you have to filter out radioactive isotopes/material (including tritium) from the contaminated water (groundwater)?

    Like Entergy, we do not filter groundwater and will monitor it to understand the characteristics of legacy issues as well as ensure that there are no new leaks or spills. Before the site can be released to be repurposed, Holtec will need to comply with any federal and state environmental requirements.

  • How long will you keep the high-burnup fuel in the pools?

    Fuel of all burnups are processed together for optimized loading, so higher burned fuel is neither loaded earlier nor later than any other fuel.

  • Who has responsibility for environmental remediation and oversight of IPEC?

    Holtec, through Holtec Decommissioning International as the licensee, has assumed responsibility to remediate the site to state and federal requirements.