US-based Exelon has entered into a $110m agreement to assume ownership and management of operations of energy company Entergy’s 838MW James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Scriba, New York.

Entergy and Exelon are currently discussing ways that would enable the nuclear plant to continue operating after January next year.

Exelon president and CEO Chris Crane said: “We are pleased to have reached an agreement for the continued operation of FitzPatrick.

“We look forward to bringing FitzPatrick’s highly skilled team of professionals into the Exelon Generation nuclear programme, and to continue delivering to New York the environmental, economic and grid reliability benefits of this important energy asset.”

"Today's news is a welcome testament to the real results that effective public policy can help drive."

Under the agreement, Entergy is set to hand over FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant’s operating licence to Exelon.

With transaction expected to close in the second quarter of next year, Exelon intends to refuel the nuclear power plant in January 2017.

The company does not intend to immediately change the staffing levels at the FitzPatrick plant, which usually employs nearly 600 people.

Nuclear Matters is focused on raising awareness of the benefits of the existing nuclear energy fleet of US, and said in a statement: “Today's news is a welcome testament to the real results that effective public policy can help drive.

“Thanks to the leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo in working with New York's Public Service Commission (PSC) to enact a Clean Energy Standard (CES), and Exelon and Entergy's cooperation, the FitzPatrick nuclear power plant, which was once in danger of shutting down prematurely, can now continue to operate and bring its many economic and reliability benefits to New York.”

The CES was approved last week and will save several high-paying jobs by preventing the closure of the upstate nuclear plants.

It will also help boost hundreds of millions of dollars in short-term investments in energy infrastructure in upstate New York.

Upstate Energy Jobs Coalition (UEJ) member L. Michael Treadwell said: “FitzPatrick’s role as a vital economic engine for our region cannot be denied.

"It supplies 615 jobs, contributes $500m per year in regional economic activity and brings in $17.3m in annual property taxes.

“In addition, FitzPatrick provides opportunities for 1,000 building tradesmen and skilled workers who are involved in the refuelling and maintenance of the facility.”

The power plant produces carbon-free electricity that is supplied to more than 800,000 homes and businesses.