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Entergy: 'Too late for FitzPatrick'

David Sommerstein
NCPR file photo

When Entergy first announced in November that they would close Fitzpatrick, some elected officials suggested that Exelon could potentially play a role in saving the plant. That prospect looks very dim now.

"There have been high level CEO to CEO discussions. However, no deal has been reached and Exelon has stated it’s not interested in purchasing FitzPatrick," said Tammy Holden, spokeswoman for the plant.

Last week, Exelon offered to provide fuel at cost for Fitzpatrick to stall its closure until the state's clean energy plan can be implemented. That plan is currently being drafted by the state's Public Service Commission, who Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered to find a way to prevent the closure of struggling upstate nuclear plants.

But, it is not expected to arrive for awhile and FitzPatrick needs to be refueled next fall. Holden said planning for a refueling entails ordering fuel and lining up the necessary contractors to do it. That can be a lengthy process. So, even if Exelon did save Fitzpatrick time and money by providing them with their fuel, Holden said the company would still spend $35-40 million on the actual refueling process. All in all, she said it isn't a good investment for Entergy.

"We would need to create parallel paths for business planning," Holden said. "One for shut down and decommissioning and the other for refueling the plant. To continue to spend tens of millions of dollars to prepare for a hypothetical fall refueling situation is not practical."

And even if Entergy did wait for the state to unveil its plan, Holden said it could be awhile before it's finalized in state code.

"Past proceedings involving public policy proposals required much longer than a six-month period to be completed," Holden said. "Even after the decision is issued, it could be subject to rehearing requests, appeals and other judicial review."

So, out of time for a state rescue, Holden said Entergy will proceed with the closure at the end of its current fuel cycle in about a year.

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.