Entergy: Talks over between company and state officials; FitzPatrick to close by early 2017
Entergy informed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Wednesday that it will "permanently cease power operations" at the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County at the end of its current fuel cycle. The company also told FitzPatrick's 615 employees that the plant will close at the end of 2016 or early 2017.
Entergy first announced two weeks ago that it would close FitzPatrick. But state and federal officials said a few days later that talks with the company over the future of the plant had resumed. Today, an Entergy spokesperson said those talks have ended.
State Assemblyman Will Barclay (R-Pulaski), in a statement, expressed disappointment over Entergy's decision.
I’m very disappointed with the news that Entergy has filed with the NRC and I urge that talks continue with the governor. I’m going to continue to work to do what I can to keep the plant operational. I will continue to fight to keep this plant open and do all I can to keep clean, carbon-free power being produced in New York.
In an interview with WRVO Wednesday afternoon, Barclay says he hasn't given up hope yet.
"I haven't shut the door completely on this," Barclay said. "I would hope that Entergy and the governor would be willing to talk going forward and if that's not the case, I hope that maybe we can find another operator for the plant."
Barclay said he has spoken with Exelon, owner of the nearby Nine Mile Point Nuclear Power Plants, about purchasing FitzPatrick. There has been no commitment, but Barclay said the company is watching the situation with FitzPatrick. Barclay also said the state needs to look at what leverage it has to stop the closure, such as the grid reliability test that the state will conduct on whether the plant is crucial to the region's energy needs.
Statement from Entergy spokeswoman Tammy Holden:
Our employees were informed today that this afternoon Entergy filed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Cessation of Power Operations letter for FitzPatrick. Our filing of the letter with the NRC within 30 days of our decision to close the plant is a requirement and the next step in the process. Plant operations will cease in late 2016 or early 2017 after completion of the current fuel cycle.
The NRC says the notification is a mandatory part of the shut-down process. NRC spokeswoman Diane Screnci says the company is required to notify the federal agency within 30 days of determining they plan to permanently cease operations.
The FitzPatrick plant employs more than 600 people. Approximately half will lose their jobs when the plant closes. After 12-18 months from that point, the staff will be reduced again by half. The remaining employees will see the plant through its decommissioning, which could take up to 60 years to complete.