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Cuomo casts doubt over proposal for NY state to take over FitzPatrick Nuclear

Gov. Andrew Cuomo expressed doubt about a proposed plan for New York state to take over the financially impaired FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County. State Sen. Patty Ritchie (R-Oswegathcie) and other state leaders have suggested that the plant could be saved if New York purchased or seized it using eminent domain.

That could potentially buy enough time for FitzPatrick to become profitable again if the New York Public Service Commission approves some nuclear plant subsidies this summer, called zero emission credits.

But while in Solvay Thursday, Cuomo said it might be too costly for the state to incur.

“We can’t continue to subsidize plants that are not economic, because the rate payers wind up paying that bill anyway,” said Cuomo.

If the state did acquire the plant, it would likely do so through the New York's Power Authority (NYPA), which ran the plant until 2000. But NYPA President Gil Quinones said the agency no longer has the ability to own the plant.

"NPYA no longer has any expertise in owning, operating or maintaining a nuclear power plant," Quinones said. "It's best for the private sector and large operators, like Entergy, Exelon and others, to be in the nuclear business and for NYPA not to go back into it."

Cuomo did say he would be interested in any plan to save the plant that is economically feasible. He also blamed FitzPatrick's owner Entergy for being unreasonable in its negotiations aimed at keeping it open. Past proposals to subsidize the plant or pay for its refueling process were rejected by the company even before they failed to pass the New York State Legislature. Entergy says it is committed to its plan to close the facility in January 2017.

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.