Central New York nuclear plant could close by 2017
ALBANY — The operators of a nuclear power plant in Central New York may shut it down by early 2017.
The James A. FitzPatrick nuclear facility outside of Syracuse has been struggling financially, and plant operator Entergy will make a decision on its fate by the end of this year, Entergy CEO Leo Denault said Thursday. FitzPatrick, located in Oswego, employs 600 people and contributes about $17 million in annual tax payments to local municipalities, including nearby school districts and towns.
“Low commodity prices and continuing challenges with the market structure in New York are a significant business concern and as such, we are evaluating whether to move forward with the next refueling outage at the FitzPatrick nuclear power plant,” Denault said at the Barclays CEO Energy-Power Conference in New York City.
FitzPatrick, which is licensed to operate until 2034, is scheduled for a refueling outage in the third quarter of 2016. However, preparations for refueling typically take place about a year ahead and the company is deferring some required work, Entergy vice president Michael Twomey said in an interview with POLITICO New York.
New York has six nuclear reactors spread over four facilities, including two each at Indian Point in Westchester County and Nine Mile outside of Rochester. They produce about a third of the state’s power. Nationally, there are 99 nuclear facilities.
Louisiana-based Entergy also owns the Indian Point facility, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he wants to close. The plant currently is undergoing a tough multi-year battle to renew its license from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Entergy also closed its Vermont Yankee nuclear facility last year.
Nuclear plants can take up to 60 years to decommission, at a cost of more than $1 billion. Spent fuel is typically stored on the site indefinitely.