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Environmentalists call for the closure of FitzPatrick Nuclear Plant

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Some central New York environmentalists don’t want New York state to come to the rescue of the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego. More than 600 people have signed a petition calling for the plant to be shut down.
FitzPatrick operator Entergy says it will make a decision about the future of the unprofitable reactor by the end of the month. The potential loss of the plant, and its 600 well-paying jobs, has sparked local politicians and union leaders to join community efforts to keep the plant open. 

But not everyone wants to save the 40-year old reactor. A “Beyond FitzPatrick” petition drive, organized by the Alliance for a Green Economy, has gathered signatures of many people would be relieved if the plant closes, according to spokeswoman Jessica Azulay.

"We want people to understand in this region, that saving FitzPatrick would mean subsidizing a dirty and dangerous energy source, either through raised electricity rates, or public funds going to the plant,” said Azulay.

She says the group has a plan that would replace the jobs and tax dollars lost if FitzPatrick shuts down. Azulay says the group’s study of the fate of other aging reactors, estimates it would cost between $40 and 60 million to keep FitzPatrick going.

"For less than that amount of money, we could support the community through this transition, and that would include not just wage replacement and helping workings going through this transition, but also helping the municipalities, because FitzPatrick, Entergy currently pays pretty high property taxes.”

Azulay adds that shutting down FitzPatrick has implications beyond central New Yorker’s wallets. She says the plant has been singled out by nuclear watchdogs as being  particularly dangerous because they has it has the same design plan as the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan that suffered a meltdown after an earthquake and tsunami more than four years ago.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.