Harckham, Galef Bill Will Allow Spent Fuel Rods at Indian Point to Be Taxed

State Sen. Harckham with Asm. Galef and local officials

Albany, NY – New York State Senator Pete Harckham and Assemblymember Sandra Galef announced that their bills allowing spent nuclear fuel rods at the now-closed Indian Point Energy Center, including fuel stored in pools or in a dry cask storage, to be taxed as real property has been passed in the State Legislature.

This vital legislation (S.7671 / A.8427) will provide some much-needed tax relief during the decommissioning process by creating a revenue stream to help the local communities and schools now facing massive declines in revenues after the closure and decommissioning of the plant.

In 2020, similar legislation, also introduced by Harckham and Galef, was signed into law adding spent fuel pools and dry cask storage systems into the definition of real property. This bill will now add spent fuel rods.

“For decades, the municipalities and schools around Indian Point received substantial tax revenue to help support their cost of operations, and this bill will ease the transition financially for them,” said Harckham. “That’s why it was imperative to introduce bills to protect residents and small business owners in this regard, so they do not have to shoulder this financial challenge entirely themselves, especially as we continue to rebound economically post-pandemic.”

“Earlier Senator Harckham and I had passed a law to allow the taxation of spent fuel pools and dry casks,” said Galef. “These new bills add the nuclear spent fuel to the property to be taxed. This will offer some financial relief to the municipalities and Hendrick Hudson School District, which have suffered with the closing of Indian Point. Helping the taxpayers is our goal.”

Currently, spent nuclear fuel rods are being housed at the now closed Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, New York, and at other nuclear power plants across the state and country. At Indian Point, fuel rods came from Con Edison, the New York Power Authority Generating Facilities, and most recently, from the power company, Entergy. For many years, the federal government has promised a site will be provided for the storage of these rods. However, this site has still not been constructed, and may not be for many more years to come.

Since the federal government has failed to locate a permanent home for these spent fuel rods, places like Indian Point have become the storage site for this nuclear waste.

Water serves as a natural and effective barrier to radiation, which is why the spent, yet still highly radioactive fuel rods are stored in pools. 

In August 2021, the Nuclear Regulatory Committee (NRC) confirmed and made very clear that spent fuel rods are owned by the plant operator, Holtec.

Cortlandt Town Supervisor Dr. Richard Becker said, “It is great news that the State Legislature has passed this bill, which will provide substantial tax revenue to both our local municipality and school district. The decommissioning of Indian Point has created major concerns for our residents, some of which can be put to rest, thanks to our two state legislators.”