Entergy (NYSE:ETR) can continue operating the Indian Point 2 (IP2) nuclear plant in Westchester County, N.Y., while the NRC continues to consider its 20-year license extension request.
NRC made that clear in an Aug. 19 letter to Entergy Nuclear Operations from Michele Evans, who is the director of NRC’s Division of Operating Reactor Licensing.
Federal law and NRC regulations permit continued operation of IP2 beyond its original licensing period. The current operating license remains in full force and effect. IP2’s original license would have expired on Sept. 28, 2013.
“Due to ongoing Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) activities that affect the Indian Point 2 license renewal application (LRA), it is clear that the NRC will not issue a renewed operating license for Indian Point 2 prior to September 28, 2013,” Evans said in the letter.
In order to continue operating, NRC did require that Entergy take certain steps to update the current licensing basis for the plant.
Indian Point Unit 3’s license ends in December 2015. “If the NRC has not reached a final determination on our license renewal application by then, then that unit would also continue to operate – contingent on our compliance with NRC regulations and inspections of course,” an Entergy spokesperson said Aug. 20.
Questions over when and if the Indian Point units will get a 20-year license extension, have encouraged New York officials to solicit proposals for power generation to make up for potential loss of the two units. Each of the pressurized water reactors (PWRs) lists an operating capacity of more than 1,000 MW.
But Entergy filed its application for license renewal of both Indian Point 2 and 3 in April 2007, more than five years ahead of Indian Point 2’s original expiration date.
By law, the current operating license is extended until the license renewal process is complete.
NRC Staff issued an Environmental Impact Statement in 2010 and a Safety Evaluation Report in 2009. In June of this year NRC issued a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement regarding endangered aquatic species. Additional supplements are possible.
A final NRC determination on license renewal for Indian Point is not expected for several years.