Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Indian Point nuclear power facility in Buchanan, New York. (Photo: Nuclear Regulatory Commission/cc/flickr)

Indian Point nuclear power facility in Buchanan, New York. (Photo: Nuclear Regulatory Commission/cc/flickr)

NY Nuke Plant to be Shuttered, But Will Cuomo Turn to Dirty Gas Instead?

Radioactive tritium-contaminated water had been leaking from Indian Point nuclear plant, which sits on the bank of the Hudson River

Lauren McCauley

New York's "dangerously decrepit" Indian Point nuclear power plant will officially shut down by April 2021, according to an agreement reached this week between the state and Entergy utility company.

A source "with direct knowledge of the deal" told the New York Times that one reactor will "cease operations by April 2020, while the other must be closed by April 2021," the paper reported on Friday. 

In recent years, radioactive tritium-contaminated water had been leaking from the aging Westchester County facility, which sits on the bank of the Hudson River, just 25 miles north of New York City, spurring calls for its closure from activists and concerned residents.

Recognizing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's history of supporting New York's upstate nuclear facilities, including a $7.6 billion bailout this August for four other plants, anti-nuclear campaigners reacted to the news with caution.

"Does Indian Point #nuclear shutdown announcement in reality signal Entergy could sell the plant to Exelon? Shut down deal is a wait and see," Beyond Nuclear wrote on Twitter, pointing to a possible deal between the state's two utility giants. The group urged the state to "close it now" to avoid "four more years of meltdown risk."

Similarly, Harvey Wasserman, activist and editor of told Common Dreams that "this is generally good news, but it allows the reactors to continue to operate without licenses and there's a troublesome 'out' clause if there’s not enough replacement power."

"Unfortunately," Wasserman continued, "Gov. Cuomo made that more likely by handing $7 billion to keep dangerously decayed uneconomical upstate reactors in operation. Indian Point should shut yesterday and while we can welcome this agreement, we must keep fighting to shut those reactors NOW."

The news follows the recent agreement reached in California between the state government, the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) utility, and local labor groups to replace the state's last operating nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon, with renewable energy sources.

But, in the case of New York, it remains unclear what the power from nuclear facility would be replaced by. The Times' source said potential prospects include "hydropower from Quebec and power from wind farms already operating across New York."

However, legal records (pdf) show that natural gas company Competitive Power Ventures, a major donor of the governor's, had met with Cuomo's aids to advocate for the plant's closure, advocacy group Environmental Progress pointed out on Friday.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'Infuriating Disappointment': Biden DHS Ramping Up Deportations to Haiti

"It is unconscionable for the Biden administration to resume deportation flights to Haiti, despite the country's ongoing political, economic, and environmental disasters."

Jessica Corbett ·

Architect of Texas Abortion Ban Takes Aim at LGBTQ+ Rights While Urging Reversal of Roe

"Make no mistake, the goal is to force extreme, outdated, religious-driven values on all of us through the courts."

Jessica Corbett ·

Ahead of Canadian Election, Bernie Sanders and Rashida Tlaib Endorse NDP

"Bernie, you have fought courageously for public healthcare, affordable medication, making the rich pay their fair share, and tackling the climate crisis," said party leader Jagmeet Singh. "We're doing the same here."

Jessica Corbett ·

US Urged to End Drone Strikes After Pentagon Says Killing 10 Afghan Civilians Was 'Horrible Mistake'

"That was not a 'mistake,'" said journalist Anand Giridharadas. "War crimes are not oopsies."

Brett Wilkins ·

40+ NYC Activists Arrested for Protests Against Banks Fueling Climate Emergency

"We're sending a message loud and clear that the little action that politicians and greenwashing CEOs have taken so far does not begin to deal with the magnitude of this crisis."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo