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FitzPatrick nuclear power plant begins refueling process, saving nearly 600 jobs

SCRIBA, N.Y. -- Early Saturday morning, the Entergy Corp.'s James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant was removed from service to begin its refueling process.

The plant was scheduled to be shut down at the end of its current fuel cycle this month, but Exelon Generation agreed to assume ownership and manage operations.

The refueling process is expected to take several months and will take place during the plant's transition of power from Entergy to Exelon. This transfer of ownership is saving nearly 600 full-time jobs in Central New York at the plant.

SEE ALSO I Entergy to close FitzPatrick nuclear plant in Oswego County

The Vice President of the FitzPatrick Site, Brian Sullivan, stated the following on the plant being offline while the start the refueling process:

Since the November 2015 shutdown announcement, which was later cancelled, the FitzPatrick team has held its head high, stayed focused and shown its typical strength and character. The team demonstrated that same focus and character when preparing for this refueling outage that will contribute to FitzPatrick’s continued safe and reliable operations. I’m proud of the FitzPatrick team’s resilience. They have worked very hard since the transaction announcement to prepare for this outage and continued operation.

The work during the refueling and maintenance outage will be performed by FitzPatrick's staff with added assistance from Entergy employees from its other nuclear plants, nearly 100 Exelon employees, contract workers, and regional union labor, including pipefitters, boilermakers, electricians, laborers, and radiation protection technicians.

To begin the refueling process, workers will be working to replace fuel assemblies in the reactor, perform maintenance and conduct tests and inspections on plant equipment that cannot be performed while the plant is online.

Chris Mudrick, the Exelon Senior Vice President of Operations, released the following statement on their assumed ownership of the plant:

We have had a great experience working with FitzPatrick’s employees and the local community over the past several months. We all have the same goal: to support the continued safe and reliable operation of the FitzPatrick plant and preserve the many economic, grid reliability and environmental benefits it provides.

Exelon purchased new fuel for the reactor, which was a condition of the plant purchase agreement. Entergy and Exelon have been working together to plan for the current outage and to install new fuel and perform other work.

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