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New York Nuclear Plants To Close, Thanks to Wall Street’s Deregulation Economic Warfare

Jan. 10, 2017 (EIRNS)—More of this nation’s nuclear plants are slated to close, while it is the environmentalists who fight for nuclear! Entergy, the owner of the two operating nuclear power plants at Indian Point, north of New York City, has decided that it will close units 2 and 3 in 2020 and 2021, respectively. The company says that economic considerations were key in its decision to shut the plants.

Entergy joins other nuclear operators in getting out of the "merchant" power business, which is the "competitive market" system, which determines the price of electricity, that was set up in the half of U.S. states that deregulated electricity in the Enron-led frenzy of the 1990s.

The 2,000-Megawatt generating capacity of the two nuclear plants provides a quarter of the power used in New York City and neighboring Westchester County. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said today, announcing the decision, that the state will be able to replace the lost power by 2021, without raising costs to consumers. Entergy Wholesale Commodities president Bill Mohl said, "Clearly, right now they don’t have the ability to replace the 2,000 Megawatts." No kidding.

The only new nuclear plants that are being built, and that companies like Entergy say they will invest in, are in regulated states, mainly in the southeast of the U.S.

According to Entergy CEO Leo Danault,

"Key considerations in our decision to shut down Indian Point ahead of schedule include sustained low current and projected wholesale energy prices that have reduced revenues, as well as increased operating costs."

Entergy has put more than $1.3 billion into safety and reliability improvements over the past 15 years. Danault reported that over the past 10 years, low gas prices had driven power prices down by about 45%, and that a $10-per- megawatt-hour drop reduces annual revenues by about $160 million for Indian Point. All of the nuclear plants that have been shut down, or are now scheduled for such, have been unable to "compete."

Over the past 15 years, anti-nukes, environmentalists, and Gov. Cuomo have led a ceaseless campaign and legal challenges, to shut the plants, due to supposed safety concerns. But an irony of the Indian Point closure, is that major environmental groups—the Environmental Defense Fund, and Natural Resources Defense Council—have filed briefs in on-going litigation, in which they defend the legality of the New York Public Service Commission’s approval of a plan to keep New York’s up-state FitzPatrick, Ginna, and Nine Mile nuclear plants open, due to their environmental benefits!