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NRC approves transfer of FitzPatrick plant from Entergy to Exelon

SCRIBA, N.Y. — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has approved the transfer of the operating license of the James A. FitzPatrick nuclear-power plant in Scriba in Oswego County from Entergy Nuclear Operations (NYSE: ETR) to Exelon Generation Co. (NYSE: EXC).

The transfer will become effective March 31 once the NRC amends the license to reflect the plant’s new ownership, the NRC said in a news release issued Friday.

The agreement to continue operation of the plant saves about 600 jobs.

The NRC staff’s review of the license-transfer application concluded that Exelon is “financially and technically” qualified to conduct the activities under the license; has satisfied the NRC’s decommissioning-funding assurance requirements for the facility; and is “not owned, controlled, or dominated by a foreign entity,” per the release.

New Orleans, Louisiana–based Entergy Corp., which owns the FitzPatrick nuclear-power plant, on July 13, 2016 announced that it was in discussions with Exelon for the potential sale of the FitzPatrick nuclear-power plant.

Chicago, Illinois–based Exelon operates the Nine Mile Point nuclear-power station, which is also located in Scriba.

Earlier, Entergy on Nov. 2, 2015 announced plans to close and decommission the plant. It had cited “unfavorable economic conditions.”

Exelon agreed to purchase the plant and keep it operating after the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) approved zero-emission credits for nuclear-power plants.

The two companies jointly applied for the license transfer on Aug. 18 of last year, the NRC said.

Lawmaker reaction

The NRC’s decision prompted praise from area lawmakers.

U.S. Representative John Katko (R–Camillus) called it “an exciting day” for Oswego County.

“With the [FitzPatrick] plant now back at full operating capacity, I will continue to do everything I can to support clean, dependable nuclear power and the hundreds of hardworking men and women working at FitzPatrick,” Katko said in a statement his office issued Friday morning.

New York State Assemblyman Will Barclay (R–Pulaski) says the NRC made the proper decision.

“I applaud the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for approving the transfer of the FitzPatrick nuclear-power plant. This approval is the final step in the sale of the FitzPatrick plant and will ensure its continued operation, keeping hundreds of people employed and our energy sources diverse,” Barclay said in a statement Friday.

Barclay went on to say that the transfer ends “a difficult year for many.”

“I want to thank everyone who reached out, wrote a letter to a state or federal agency, or signed a petition to keep the plant in operation. I would also like to recognize our local leaders and Upstate Energy Jobs Coalition who never gave up on this issue. Because we worked together and advocated for including nuclear power in the clean-energy standard, we not only changed energy policy but also secured the jobs at FitzPatrick and all of our Upstate nuclear-power plants. Keeping the plant in operation was in the best interest for our area and for our state,” said Barclay.

The clean-energy standard will require 50 percent of New York’s electricity to come from renewable-energy sources like wind and solar by 2030, with an “aggressive,” phase-in schedule over the next several years, the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last August.

Under the standard, utility customers in the state will pay almost “$500 million a year in subsidies aimed at keeping some upstate nuclear power plants operating,” according to a New York Times article.

Cuomo’s office said that it will cost less than $2 a month on the average residential customer’s bill.


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