End of an Era: Entergy shuts down final nuclear reactor at Indian Point

Control room operators at Entergy Corp’s sole nuclear power plant in New York flipped the switch to cease operations on 60 years of carbon-free power at the site.

The utility shut down the nuclear reactor for Unit 3 at Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, N.Y., late last week. The decommissioning of Indian Point’s final operating reactor was announced several years ago after numerous political groups pressured the company to shut it down.

Indian Point’s first unit entered commercial operation in the early 1960s. Unit 2 went offline permanently last year and the 1,041-MW Unit 3 joined the inactive ranks last month.

“Indian Point has been operated and maintained at the highest levels of reliability, safety and security for many years, and Unit 3 has been online continuously since April 9, 2019 — setting a new world record for continuous days of operation,” said Chris Bakken, Entergy’s Chief Nuclear Officer. “Indian Point’s enduring legacy will be the thousands of men and women who operated the plant safely, reliably, and securely, while helping to power New York City and the lower Hudson Valley for nearly 60 years. We owe those who serve now, along with those who came before them, a debt of gratitude.”

Historically, the reactors were built on land which was formerly an amusement park. Consolidated Edison built the first project and later sold the facility to Entergy. Units 2 and 3 are four-loop Westinghouse pressurized water reactors completed in the 1970s, according to reports. The plant’s capacity factor was above 90 percent as proof of its usefulness, the company said.

In April 2019, Entergy announced the proposed post-shutdown sale of the subsidiaries that own Unit 1, Unit 2, and Unit 3 to a Holtec International subsidiary for prompt decommissioning. Holtec and its team plan to initiate decommissioning at Indian Point promptly following regulatory approval and transaction close, and it expects to release portions of the site for re-use by the mid-2030s

Holtec agreed to hire more than 300 of Entergy’s employees at the site for the first phase of decommissioning.

Entergy, based in New Orleans, still maintains a nuclear energy fleet of five units within its regulated business. Those nuclear power plants total more than 5,000 MW of capacity and are located in Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi.

In its prime, Entergy noted, Indian Point provided close to a quarter of the electricity consumed in New York City and the lower Hudson Valley.

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