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Entergy rejects Exelon's offer to cover FitzPatrick's fuel cost

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

A new plan has been proposed to keep the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County open. But it may not be enough.

David Tillman, a spokesman for Exelon, which operates the Nine Mile Nuclear Power Station, said the company has offered to provide Fitzpatrick's fuel at cost so it can remain open while state officials work out the plan for how to achieve Gov. Andrew Cuomo's goal to get 50 percent of state energy from renewable sources by 2030. The plan doesn't currently include nuclear power, even though some consider it clean energy.

But, Cuomo did send a letter to the Department of Public Service Wednesday instructing them to offer support to emission-free sources such as Fitzpatrick, saying it's closure would be a set back for the emission reductions New York has achieved.

In response, Fitzpatrick spokeswoman Tammy Holden said in a written statement that there is no viable alternative left to consider.

"We have explored every legitimate commercial arrangement that might have changed the decision regarding Fitzpatrick's retirement," Holden said in a statement. "The plant will retire at the end of 2016 or early 2017, as we have previously announced and formally advised the NRC."

That rejection prompted a sharp rebuke from Assemblyman Will Barclay (R-Pulaski) who called it a "slap in the face" to central New York residents.

"Our community has supported this plant at all times and we have been working tirelessly to try to come up with a plan to keep it open," Barclay said in a statement. "To dismiss any proposed solutions leaves the impression that they don't care for the plant's employees, their families, or the central New York community."

Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Neil Sheehan said the average nuclear power plant needs to replace about a third of its fuel every 18 months to two years. He said the last time Entergy refueled FitzPatrick was in August of 2014.

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.