Exelon Will Buy, Keep Open FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant

FitzPatrick nuclear plant

The FitzPatrick nuclear power plant in New York avoids closure as Exelon Generation (NYSE: EXC) said it will assume ownership of the plant from Entergy (NYSE: ETR).

As part of the $110 million agreement, Entergy will transfer FitzPatrick’s operating license to Exelon. The New York Power Authority agreed to transfer the decommissioning trust fund and liability for the plant to Entergy. Once regulatory approvals are obtained and the deal is finalized, Entergy will then transfer the fund and associated liability to Exelon. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017 pending approvals from state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the New York State Public Service Commission.

“I would like specifically to thank our employees who have continued to operate this plant safely and reliably, despite the uncertainty they have faced about a potential shutdown,” said Entergy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Leo Denault. “The pending sale of FitzPatrick is in the best interests of all of our stakeholders: employees, owners, customers and communities, including New Yorkers who will benefit from the plant’s continued clean, safe and reliable energy production.”

Entergy announced in 2015 that it would shut down the single-unit, 838-MW FitzPatrick plant by January 2017 due to the plant losing money. New York regulators and officials worked on plans to save the plant, but Entergy said it was too little, too late. In July, Entergy and Exelon began talks of selling the plant in order to keep it operating.

“Saving FitzPatrick is an enormous win for Central New York and the entire state, preserving hundreds of jobs and maintaining a reliable, carbon-free power source for New Yorkers,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “FitzPatrick’s continued operation is essential both to the regional economy and our nation-leading efforts to power the state with 50 percent renewable energy by 2030."

Exelon agreed it would move forward with a scheduled refueling outage in January, and regulators passed the state’s Clean Energy Standard in August. Exelon said if the standard was passed, it would reinvest millions into its upstate nuclear plants, including approximately $400-$500 million in operations, integration and refueling expenditures in spring of 2017. The utility also said it did not expect any changes to staffing levels at the plant, which normally staffs around 600 people.

“On behalf of the 615 workers at the plant, and the more than 1,000 building tradesmen and skilled workers who also rely on the facility, we applaud the agreement reached today by Exelon and Entergy to keep the FitzPatrick nuclear power plant operating,” said Gregory Lancette, President of the Central and Northern New York Building and Construction Trades Council.

Exelon operates two other nuclear plants in upstate New York: Ginna and Nine Mile Point. Nine Mile Point is adjacent to FitzPatrick.

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