Entergy Corp. announced on Monday that it plans to continue operating its 2,000-MW Indian Point nuclear power plant in spite of the N.Y. Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) rejection of the plant’s application for a water quality certification on Friday.

Entergy Chairman and Chief Executive J. Wayne Leonard said on Monday that the state decision isn’t final and that the company expects to reach a settlement with the state or prevail in front of a state administrative law judge, according to the Dow Jones News Wires. Further appeals are possible, and Entergy officials also raised questions about whether the certificate is actually required for relicensing since Indian Point already has water permits allowing it to operate.

The Indian Point Nuclear Facility is located in Buchanan and is equipped with separate cooling water systems that withdraw water from the Hudson River and discharge that water back to the river through a shared discharge canal. Up to 2.5 billion gallons of water per day are withdrawn from the Hudson River through three intake structures along the shoreline.

On April 6, 2009, Entergy filed an application for a water quality certification for the Indian Point plant with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. On Friday the DEC denied the certification that Entergy needs in order to get a federal license to operate the Indian Point plant—a major power source for New York City—for an additional 20 years. The agency said the plant’s two working reactors don’t comply with state or federal water-quality standards and wouldn’t even with installation of a screening technology favored by Entergy to protect aquatic life, according to the New York Times.

Nuclear proponents said they hoped that the federal government would determine that the nation’s energy needs should take precedence over such state-level actions. "The N.R.C. may decide this is not a policy they’re going to give credence to," Arthur J. Kremer, chairman of the New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance told the New York Times on April 3. "It’s bad news for investors in new power facilities and in upgrading old ones." Entergy is a member of the New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance.

Alex Matthiessen, president of environmental group Riverkeeper, which has been fighting to close the facility for years, told the WNYC Newsroom that the future of the plant is now in doubt.

"Basically the DEC has exercised one of the few options it has to block the re-licensing of the nuclear power plant, and that’s a big development in the long-time effort to shut this plant down," Matthiessen said. "We’re not talking about shutting down the plant tomorrow—it just simply means this presents a major obstacle for Entergy to get the 20-year license extension they’re seeking."

Sources: New York Department of Environmental Conservation, Entergy, Dow Jones News Wires, New York Times, WNYC News, Fox Business News