Two resolutions concerning the Indian Point nuclear power plant are on the agenda of Entergy’s annual shareholder meeting Friday. One is from the New York State comptroller, the other from an Ulster County resident.
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli on behalf of the state Common Retirement Fund has submitted a resolution to require Indian Point owner Entergy to publish semiannual reports reviewing the major nuclear safety concerns, updating investors regarding any near miss, Nuclear Regulatory Commission special investigation, or NRC downgrading of a facility. Here’s state comptroller spokesman Matt Sweeney.
“Any time there is a safety concern, it can affect the company’s bottom line. It can affect and has affected, in the case of Entergy, some of their licensing,” Sweeney says. “So really on behalf of investors and on behalf of shareholders, we’re asking them to do more to disclose when there are any safety concerns or safety issues. Whether or not they’re part of reporting that already takes place, we think that they can do more.”
Jerry Nappi is a spokesman for Indian Point parent Entergy Nuclear. He says Indian Point is subject to thousands of hours of reviews and inspections each year by the NRC.
“Those reports, those reviews, along with an enormous amount of other plant-specific data are already publicly available through the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and other web sites,” says Nappi. “So, because of those inspections we do receive top safety ratings already from the federal government and we just don’t think there’s any real merit to this proposal.”
Should the resolution fail, Sweeney says that DiNapoli, on behalf of the pension fund, will continue to engage with Entergy and other nuclear power companies to ensure they are doing everything possible to mitigate the risks their business can pose to the public and their investors.
“Now, unfortunately, this company Entergy has shown some reluctance to engage, but we’re long-term investors and the New York State pension fund wants the company to perform better, and as shareholders we’re not going to be going away,” says Sweeney.
“I don’t know what the basis for that statement is,” Nappi responds. “I would say that we’re probably one of the most scrutinized industries and Indian Point specifically is one of the most regulatorily scrutinized power plants in the country, so we respond to any regulator that has questions. We’re open and transparent.”
Another resolution is from Ulster County resident March Gallagher, who says she purchased Entergy shares to be able to introduce her resolution.
“I’m an Indian Point energy user,” says Gallagher. “I live in the Hudson Valley. I’m using energy in the Hudson Valley. And so I thought just opposing Indian Point isn’t smart enough. I need to take responsibility for my energy usage, so I bought the shares in Entergy to do it that way.”
Here’s the essence of her resolution.
“There are environmental and social-interest reasons why Indian Point should be decommissioned, namely having to do with the risk of seismic events, terrorism risk, and the age of the facility as well as some environmental impacts having to do with the river and its proximity to 20 million people and that being New York City,” says Gallagher.
Nappi says Indian Point is vital to New York as a low-cost, reliable power provider. He notes that electricity prices rose over the winter because of the extreme cold weather.
“And that’s because New York and the Hudson Valley and New York City rely greatly on natural gas to make electricity, so without Indian Point we would become even more reliant and over reliant on natural gas, and we would see rates likely jump even higher during extreme cold periods,” Nappi says. “So Indian Point plays an important role to keep rates stable.”
Gallagher says discussion about transitioning away from nuclear energy in the Hudson Valley must be part of a long-term energy planning solution, and she thinks that conversation needs to begin now. She says her expectations are realistic when it comes to voting on her resolution.
“I’m hoping to obtain 3 percent of the shareholder vote so that I can continue to bring this resolution each year,” says Gallagher. “I do not expect that I will win the vote and that I will have a passing resolution.”
The resolutions will come before Entergy’s annual shareholder meeting Friday in Jackson, Mississippi. The license for Buchanan-based Indian Point Two expired in September, but the reactor continues to operate until the NRC renders a decision. The license for Indian Point Three runs through December 2015.