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The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has granted Holtec Decommissioning International’s request to revise the emergency preparedness plan for the Indian Point NPP in Buchanan, New York, to reflect the plant’s decommissioning status. The approved exemptions will enable Holtec to establish and maintain an adequate level of radiological emergency preparedness during decommissioning. NRC said these exemptions are consistent with its actions at other decommissioning plants. Once Holtec implements the changes, state and local governments may rely on a comprehensive emergency management plan approach (all hazards) for offsite emergency response.

A 10-mile emergency planning zone is no longer required but Holtec must continue to maintain an onsite emergency plan and response capabilities at Indian Point. This includes the continued notification of state government officials in the event of an emergency declaration. After a NPP has permanently ceased operations and removed fuel from the reactor vessel, the risk of an offsite radiological release is significantly lower, and the types of possible accidents significantly fewer, than at an operating reactor. NRC staff evaluated and confirmed analyses in Holtec’s request and considered comments from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Based on the NRC staff’s evaluation and recommendation, the Commission approved the exemptions.

The exemptions and associated licence amendments reflecting the changes will be issued in the next few weeks. Indian Point has three pressurised-water reactors, located along the Hudson River, about 24 miles north of New York City. Unit 1 shut down in 1974. Units 2&3 ceased operations in 2020 and 2021, respectively. All fuel has been removed from the used fuel pools and placed in dry storage on the site.

Indian Point enter was shut down permanently by Entergy in April 2021, after almost 60 years. In May 2021, Indian Point was purchased by Holtec International in a deal that allowed the site to enter immediate decommissioning. This enables decommissioning and site release for alternate uses decades sooner than previously anticipated.

Image: Indian Point nuclear power plant

Date: Thursday, 02 November 2023
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