Employees optimistic facing Oswego County's uncertain nuclear future

Employees, labor leaders and local lawmakers make final push for clean energy agreement.

Another push to save two nuclear power plants that keep the lights on and put food on the table for hundreds of families in Oswego County.

The state has a $5 billion dollar plan to hand out taxpayer money to keep the plants operating - and a decision on the proposal is expected in the next week as workers anxiously wait to learn more about their future.

Jimmy Yerdon has worked as an electrician at Fitzpatrick Nuclear Plant for 22 years. When he heard the plant was scheduled to close in January, it came as a shock.

"It's devastating to know that you're going to lose a job when you plan on retiring from there eventually," Yerdon said.

He also knows shutting down his plant and others would have an impact that goes beyond just losing a paycheck.

"If you take away those jobs, the school district suffers, the job market suffers, the housing market suffers - it's devastating to everyone in this area," he said.

Ronald Haney represents hundreds of workers hired by the nuclear plants for maintenance and up-keep.

He says losing those contracts would be a big blow.

"It would be thousands of man hours that work towards their pension and their healthcare," Haney said.

If approved, plants like Nine Mile One and Fitzpatrick say they would get enough money in government subsidies to stay open.

Employees have their fingers crossed.

"It means I get to stay in my house, in my town and raise my children in the school district they're used to with their friends," Jimmy Yerdon said.

The clean energy proposal is a 12 year agreement and the Public Service Commission is expected to make a decision at their next meeting on August 1st.

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