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“Decommissioning funds in question”

“If Entergy’s license renewal application for Indian Point Unit 2 is turned down by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the company wouldn’t have enough decommissioning funds to close down in 2013 when its license expires. The multi-billion dollar utility company also wouldn’t have enough money to decommission and close down Unit 1, the oldest of the three plants at Indian Point in Buchanan.

Entergy is asking the NRC if it could use their decommissioning funds for storing spent fuel at the plant in the dry cask storage operation. The NRC would have to approve an extension to the decommissioning regulations to allow Entergy to re-direct some of the funds.

When the Indian Point plants actually do close down, the funds are slated to pay for the removal and disposal of subsurface contaminated soil, including the demolition of several buildings.

According to recent NRC documents sent to Entergy, the decommissioning fund for Unit 2 as of December 31, 2008 was $321.39 million and $218.39 million for Unit 1. The NRC estimates that over $400 million is needed to decommission each unit. Regulations provides for a 60 year shut down process.

Entergy has said that although the economic meltdown has decreased the funds, they will have enough money in the future.

“Entergy meets all current NRC decommissioning funding account guidelines and regulations, and will meet those that change in the future,” said Jerry Nappi, Entergy spokesperson.

Westchester County Legislator Mike Kaplowitz (D-Somers) said Entergy shouldn’t be allowed to tap in to the decommissioning funds for non-decommissioning uses.

“Entergy makes $2 million a day and over $700 million a year in profit. They shouldn’t have to tap into this fund for any other purpose.”

Kaplowitz said he expects the NRC to approve these extensions. “They’ve never turned down one. Now that there’s a move in the country towards more nuclear power, the sea of change is in their favor.”

John Boska, the NRC Indian Point Project Manager said Entergy can come up with the needed decommissioning funds though financial maneuvers.

“For short-time swings in the financial markets, licensees could establish supplemental trust funds to cover the deficiency if the NRC approves it, and remove those if the financial market recovers.” Boska said NRC approval would be needed to remove the funds. Other financial fixes include adding a periodic amount to the fund every year for a number of years or add a lump sum amount now to the fund.

According to NRC spokesperson Neil Sheehan, a private call is being scheduled with Entergy within the next few weeks to discuss decommissioning funds for Indian Point.”

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