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Entergy may have to shut NY Indian Point reactors by 2018 -analyst via Reuters

(Reuters) – New York state environmental regulations may force Entergy Corp to shut its Indian Point nuclear power plant by 2018, according to a research report by U.S. financial firm Morgan Stanley.

Morgan Stanley analysts believe New York will find Indian Point’s use of water from the Hudson River to cool the plant will conflict with the state’s Coastal Management Program and the state will require the company to build costly cooling towers to reduce its use of river water by recycling it.

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Indian Point, whose two units provide about a quarter of the power used in the New York City area, is located 40 miles north of Manhattan on the Hudson River.

Earlier this week, the head of Entergy’s Wholesale Commodities Group told Reuters the company planned to keep Indian Point running and was open to talks with New York on a “practical solution” for the plant.

Indian Point, like other industrial facilities, uses river water to cool plant equipment. Entergy has said cooling towers are too expensive, with a price tag of up to $2 billion.

Also, the company has said that even if it could obtain permits to build cooling towers, which is unlikely, they probably would not be completed before 2029.

In Morgan Stanley’s view, the $2 billion cost is greater than the value of the plant.

Instead, Entergy has proposed to install a so-called Wedgewire screen system to protect fish and other wildlife in the river. The company has said the Wedgewire screen would save more fish since it would only take about three years to install at a cost of up to $250 million.

Entergy is also fighting the state over the installation of cooling towers to obtain a water quality or discharge certificate, which the plant needs before the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission can renew the plant’s operating licenses.

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