Entergy to refuel FitzPatrick, says shutdown appears ‘much less likely’

Photo Courtesy Entergy Corp.

SCRIBA, N.Y. -- The James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear plant will be refueled in January after a key hurdle was passed concerning its sale to Exelon.

Exelon management confirmed to CNYCentral that a contract with NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) has been signed that in-part guarantees the subsidy payments to Exelon as laid out in the Clean Energy Standard.

The deal to transfer ownership between Entergy and Exelon could have terminated this week if that contract wasn't signed.

SEE ALSO | New York regulators approve sale of FitzPatrick Nuclear Plant

Exelon issued the following statement on the signing:

We commend the Public Service Commission (PSC) and Governor Cuomo for leading the nation in driving the development of renewable energy while preserving upstate nuclear power plants and the environmental, economic and reliability benefits they provide. The PSC approval of the FitzPatrick transaction and our signing of the NYSERDA contract are two recent steps in the process for Exelon to assume operation of the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in the second quarter of 2017.

Exelon currently owns and operates the Nine Mile Point and Ginna nuclear plants in upstate New York.

While clearing this latest hurdle is a good sign, Entergy admits FitzPatrick's operation after a fueling outage isn't a done deal yet.

"The sale is still contingent on regulatory review and approval by federal agencies. We don't expect the NRCs approvals until Spring 2017," said Tammy Holden, a spokesperson for the Fitzpatrick Nuclear plant. "Until the transaction closes, we will be prepared to return to the shutdown path for FitzPatrick, if necessary. We are moving forward with a January refueling as a shutdown appears to be much less likely."

Before a deal was struck to sell FitzPatrick, Entergy had announced plans to close the nuclear plant by early 2017, citing financial woes. Over the summer Entergy and Exelon reached an agreement for the plant to be sold to Exelon, which would keep the plant operating. That sale was approved by the state last week and now needs federal approval.

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