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When A Plant Changes Hands

Neil Sheehan
Public Affairs Officer
Region I

FitzPatrickTowerViewIn February, Entergy announced plans to permanently shut down the James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power plant on Jan. 27, 2017. However, there are indications – based on recent negotiations between Entergy and Exelon – that the facility may not cease operations after all.

On Aug. 9, Exelon announced it had reached a deal to purchase the Scriba (Oswego County), N.Y., boiling-water reactor from Entergy for $110 million. This agreement occurred after the New York State Public Service Commission approved Zero Emission Credits, or subsidies, which will help upstate N.Y. nuclear plants stay online amid historically low energy prices.

Challenging market conditions had earlier prompted Entergy to announce the plant’s closure. The NRC in 2008 had approved a renewal of FitzPatrick’s initial 40-year operating license, extending it until October 2034.

Before the sale of the plant can be completed, the transaction will undergo reviews by the NRC, as well as other regulatory agencies. NRC staff will evaluate Exelon’s technical and financial capabilities to ensure the plant’s safe operation and to provide reasonable assurance that adequate funding is available to safely decommission the unit after the final shutdown has occurred.

Exelon currently owns and operates 22 reactors at 13 plant sites in the U.S. The company also runs Fort Calhoun under a contract with the Omaha Public Power District.

We will publish on our website and in the Federal Register a notice of having received the license transfer application, dated August. 18, and the opportunity to request a hearing on the proposal. As for the process itself, such reviews generally take from six months to a year. For example, when the FitzPatrick operating license was transferred from the New York Power Authority to Entergy in 2000, the review was completed in about half a year.

As a footnote, Exelon already owns the Nine Mile Point nuclear power plant, which is located next-door to FitzPatrick.

FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant to Halt Production in 2016 or 2017

Neil Sheehan
Public Affairs Officer
Region I

The James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power plant has become the latest U.S. commercial power reactor to announce plans to cease operations by the end of the decade. Situated on Lake Ontario, the Scriba (Oswego County), N.Y., facility will permanently shut down either in late 2016 or early 2017, its owner, Entergy, said Monday.

fitzAs was the case with other plants that have previously disclosed shutdown plans, poor economics fostered by an abundance of low-cost natural gas was cited by the plant owner as a primary driver in the decision-making.

The NRC does not have a role in decisions made by plant owners on continued operations based on economics and other factors.

FitzPatrick, a roughly 840-megawatt boiling water reactor that came online in July 1975, joins these plants that will be closing in coming years: Pilgrim, in Plymouth, Mass., by June 1, 2019, and Oyster Creek, in Lacey Township, N.J., by Dec. 31, 2019.

The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, in Vernon, Vt., generated electricity for the last time in December of 2014. Entergy also owns Pilgrim and Vermont Yankee while Exelon owns Oyster Creek.

By contrast, an operating license was just granted last month to Watts Bar 2.

The NRC will continue to provide rigorous regulatory oversight of the FitzPatric facility. Our inspections will be focused on ensuring plant safety and security for the remainder of its operational life.

That oversight will include the ongoing presence of two NRC Resident Inspectors based at FitzPatrick on a full-time basis until the reactor is removed from service.

More information regarding the agency’s nuclear power plant oversight activities can be found on the NRC’s website.

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