Yellow hardhats hung from the chain link fence around the ball field at Lents Cove Park in the Village of Buchanan on the afternoon of Friday, April 30. The hardhats symbolized the jobs lost as a result of the closing of the Indian Point Energy Center. The plant’s last functioning reactor, Unit 3, was turned off that evening at 11 p.m.
Buchanan’s mayor, Theresa Knickerbocker, hosted a press conference at the entrance to the park to thank the employees of Indian Point, which has been the largest employer and taxpayer in Buchanan and in the Hendrick Hudson School District. Buchanan is part of the Town of Cortlandt.
The speakers at the press conference included Buchanan, Cortlandt, and New York State officials as well as union leaders, current employees, former employees, and the schools superintendent. Multiple speakers referred to it as a “dark day.”
Multiple speakers also touted the fact that Unit 3 had been online for 753 continuous days, which was referred to as a world record for light water reactors. Indian Point’s first reactor, Unit 1, was online from 1962 to 1974, when it was replaced by Unit 2. Unit 2 was turned off in April 2020. Unit 3 was first brought online in 1976.
On the evening of April 30, the mood was far from dark during a virtual forum titled “Indian Point Powers Down: A Historic Day for the Hudson.” The host was filmmaker John Bowermaster, whose series of short films about the Hudson River include “The Long Shadow of Indian Point.”
Bowermaster was joined by representatives of Riverkeeper and Clearwater, both of which called for the closure of Indian Point due to fires, leaks, and equipment failures. In January 2017, Riverkeeper was party to the settlement to shutter the plant, which involved New York State and Indian Point’s current owner, Entergy. Entergy cited changing market conditions as the reason for the settlement.
Indian Point will become the property of Holtec International, which will decommission the plant. Spent nuclear fuel will remain on the site. In other words, April 30 was the end of a sentence, not the end of a story.