New York Shutters Its Last Indian Point Nuke Reactor

by on May 3, 2021 · 0 comments

in Energy, Environment

Nuclear Shutdown News for May 2021

By Michael Steinberg /  Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working for a nuclear free future.

New York Nuke’s Shutdown Marks Historic Milestone

By the time you read this it may have already happened.  On the last day of April this year, the third and final reactor at the unfortunately named Indian Point nuclear plant will be permanently shut down. This plant is located on the Hudson River, just 36 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. Almost all of NYC is within 59 miles of IP.

The Worst Made Plans

This nuke plant’s history goes all the way back to the early 1960s, when the federal government was encouraging the development of nuclear power with big bucks incentives and slogans like “Too Cheap To Meter” in its Atoms For Peace program.

IP’s first reactor started up in 1962, when the Mets were a new expansion team in New York. Nuclear reactors are designed to last 40 years. But IP1 crapped out in 1974, shutting down after only 12 years.

Nevertheless, two more reactors were built on the site and began operating in the 1970s.

Fast forward to the turn of the 21st century. By this time aging nuclear plants were becoming less profitable because of increasing costs and decreasing profits.  Along came New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. to buy up the two remaining IP reactors. Entergy’s strategy was to buy up aging nukes at bargain basement prices and then milk them for all they were worth, which turned out to be less and less.

At IP’s Yankee reactors things went from bad to worse. Radioactive water repeatedly leaked from the plant into local groundwater, and then into the Hudson, which flows toward iconic places like Yankee Stadium and the Empire State Building. One electrical transformer on site caught fire, another exploded.

As such incidents continued, the impossibility of evacuating many millions in case of a serious nuclear accident at IP became ever more clear.

But none of this deterred Entergy from applying to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend the operating licenses for IP 2& 3 for 20 more years, usually a slam dunk.

But not this time. As local NY newspaper Examiner News reported on April 22, in 2017, “Entergy, New York State (including Governor Andrew Cuomo) and local environmental group Riverkeeper stunned local officials when they announced that the two (remaining IP) reactors would close.” Underlying this decision was the reality that Entergy couldn’t make money off IP anymore. And so one reactor closed at the end of April last year, as the pandemic raged, and the other will go down in infamy at the end of April 2021.

A statement from Riverkeeper and another environmental group active in this struggle spells out more of the significance of this milestone:

“New York State is making good on its promise to replace the aging, unsafe Indian Point nuclear plant with clean energy. Closing the dangerous plant is overdue. Over the years Indian Point has experienced reactor structure problems with the potential for structural failure, as well as leaks, fires and unplanned shutdowns.   Gains in energy efficiency and renewable power over the past decade already exceed the plant’s total annual output.

We can expect year-to year changes given fluctuations in energy demand and prices. But the overall trend is clear: Clean energy is here to stay. For the 20 million people who live within 50 miles of it, Indian Point’s long planned closure ends a risky chapter.

Paul Gally, Riverkeeper, Kit Kennedy, Natural Resouces Defenses Council “

Or as we used to say in grade school, good riddance to bad rubbish!

Sources: Examiner News,; New York Times.; Wikipedia,



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