Entergy Says New York's Nuclear-Rescue Plan Comes Too Late

Updated on
  • FitzPatrick nuclear plant remains on schedule to close
  • Exelon said New York plan may sustain its nuclear plants

Entergy Corp., the nuclear plant owner that’s already closed one money-losing reactor, said a proposal from New York regulators to save the James A. FitzPatrick station comes too late.

Under a rescue plan from staff of the New York Public Service Commission unveiled Jan. 25, nuclear plants deemed in financial difficulty by the state may receive credits for generating zero-emission power that utilities would be required to buy. The plan doesn’t mention Indian Point, an Entergy reactor Governor Andrew Cuomowants closed, arguing it’s too close to New York City.

Entergy on Nov. 2 said it would close the FitzPatrick plant in Scriba, New York by early 2017, the latest casualty of a shale-gas boom that’s squeezing profit margins for nuclear and coal generators. New York wants to keep upstate reactors operating to help curb carbon dioxide emissions and further Cuomo’s goal of generating half the state’s power from renewable energy by 2030. 

The commission will take public comment on the proposed Clean Energy Standard through March 28, according to a Jan. 25 order on its website.

“Whatever this proposal may turn out to be, it would not be in place in time,” Tammy Holden, a spokeswoman for New Orleans-based Entergy, said late Wednesday in an e-mail. “We do not know when the support might become effective, how much it might be, what terms and conditions would be applied to receiving support or many other important details.”

Indian Point

The planned closing of FitzPatrick follows Entergy’s shutdown of its Vermont Yankee reactor in December. The generator said in October its Pilgrim nuclear plant south of Boston will close no later than June 1, 2019.

“If the state is focused on reducing CO2 emissions, the clean energy standard should apply to Indian Point,” Holden said.

Meanwhile Exelon Corp. said earlier this week Cuomo’s proposal might support its three upstate New York nuclear plants. The Ginna reactor near Rochester is running through April 2017 under a state-approved subsidy from customers of Avangrid Inc.’s Rochester Gas & Electric utility. Exelon also owns two reactors at Nine Mile Point, a plant adjacent to FitzPatrick.

(Updates with comment deadline in fourth paragraph.)
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