Entergy to close 850MW James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power station in New York

3 November 2015 (Last Updated November 3rd, 2015 18:30)

Entergy intends to shut down the 850MW James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power station in Scriba, New York, US in late 2016 or by early 2017.

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Entergy intends to shut down the 850MW James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power station in Scriba, New York, US in late-2016 or by early 2017.

The firm indicated declining economics to be the reason behind the closure of the plant, which was affected due to low natural gas prices, poor market design that fails to properly compensate nuclear generators such as FitzPatrick for their benefits, and high operational costs.

Entergy has informed New York Independent System Operator and New York State Public Service Commission about its decision to retire the facility at the end of the current fuel cycle.

The firm had tried to avoid the shutdown, which it had been negotiating with New York State officials for the past two months.

Entergy chairman and chief executive officer Leo Denault said: "Given the financial challenges our merchant power plants face from sustained wholesale power price declines and other unfavourable market conditions, we have been assessing each asset.

"As part of this review, we previously announced the closure of the Pilgrim Nuclear Generating Station in Massachusetts and have now decided that despite good operational performance, market conditions require us to also close the FitzPatrick nuclear plant."

The plant, commissioned in 1975, generated enough electricity to meet the power requirements of more than 800,000 homes.

Nuclear Matters is an industry collaboration aiming to promote nuclear energy in the US. It said the premature retirement of the facility was ‘unfortunate’.

"The firm had tried to avoid the shutdown, which it had been negotiating with New York State for the past two months."

Nuclear Matters co-chairman and former senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) said: "FitzPatrick’s closing will be felt acutely by residents of Scriba and by the entire state of New York, given that the plant employs more than 600 highly skilled employees and the state’s nuclear plants in aggregate generate 33% of New York’s electricity.

"Clearly, closing one of New York’s nuclear plants will only make it harder for the state to reduce carbon emissions, especially at a time when states are working to comply with emissions targets set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently finalised Clean Power Plan to ensure a cleaner energy future for the country.

"The announcement yesterday should foster a renewed sense of urgency to implement public policies that help to preserve this country’s existing nuclear plants."


Image: James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Scriba, New York, US. Photo: courtesy of Entergy Corporation.