Entergy Corp's Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York state will shut down by April 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday, due primarily to its proximity to the heavily populated New York City area.
"I am proud to have secured this agreement with Entergy to responsibly close the facility 14 years ahead of schedule to protect the safety of all New Yorkers," Cuomo said in a statement.
Of the plant's two operating reactors, Unit 2 will close as early as April 2020 and Unit 3 in April 2021.
Shares of Entergy, which has been focusing on its utilities in the South, were down $1.22, or 1.7 percent, at $72.02 at midday.
New York has been developing contingency plans for years to replace the power supplied by Indian Point, which is located in Buchanan, along the Hudson River about 45 miles north of midtown Manhattan.
The plant produces about 2,069 megawatts of electricity, enough to meet 25 percent of the power used by New York City and adjacent Westchester County.
Cuomo said replacement power would be in place that adds "no new carbon emissions" and would have "negligible cost impact to ratepayers."
The shutdown comes as New Orleans-based Entergy has been pulling back from its unregulated nuclear business over the past few years to concentrate on its regulated utilities in the South. Indian Point was the only unregulated nuclear plant it had tried to keep.
Entergy has been trying to renew the federal licenses for the two Indian Point reactors since 2007. Those licenses expired in 2013 and 2015, but the units can continue to operate so long as the renewal process is ongoing.
"For the past six years, my office has led the state's challenge to Entergy's request for a twenty-year extension of its license to operate Indian Point," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in the governor's statement.
"This agreement marks the successful culmination of our work to address the serious health and safety risks the plant poses to neighboring communities," Schneiderman said.
The governor said Indian Point had been plagued by numerous safety and operational problems, including faulty bolts, and various leaks and fires.
The densely populated surrounding region lacks viable evacuation routes in the event of a disaster, said Cuomo, and the plant was once cited as the most vulnerable to earthquakes in the nation.