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Public Service Commission approves sale of FitzPatrick nuclear plant to Exelon

By Eric Reinhardt

Date:

The James A. FitzPatrick nuclear-power plant in Scriba. Photo credit: Entergy website

SCRIBA, N.Y. — The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) on Thursday announced approval of the sale of the James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power plant in Scriba to Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC). 

The agreement to continue operation of the plant will save about 600 jobs, according to the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Under the deal totaling $110 million, New Orleans, Louisiana–based Entergy Corp. (NYSE: ETR) will transfer FitzPatrick’s operating license to Chicago, Illinois–based Exelon, which describes itself as the “owner of the nation’s largest nuclear fleet.”

“Our finding today is that the public will be well-served by the transfer of ownership of FitzPatrick,” Audrey Zibelman, PSC chairperson, said in the commission’s release. “Exelon has an excellent track record as the owner of nuclear power plants, and we fully expect it will operate FitzPatrick in a safe and reliable fashion.”

Final transaction closure is dependent upon regulatory review and approval by federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017, the PSC said.

The companies credited Cuomo with helping to facilitate the transaction. The governor had asked the PSC to adopt a clean-energy standard (CES), which will provide hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies, funded by utility customers, to help keep nuclear-power plants open in upstate New York.

The PSC on Aug. 1 approved New York’s clean-energy standard.

As a result of the CES, Exelon will reinvest “millions” back into the nuclear units, including upwards of $500 million in operations, integration and refueling expenditures for the upstate plants in spring of 2017, “all of which will have a positive impact across the state,” the PSC contends. 

Exelon has committed to refueling FitzPatrick in January 2017.

Exelon operates two other nuclear-energy facilities in upstate New York, including Nine Mile Point, located near FitzPatrick. Its other plant, R.E. Ginna, is in the town of Ontario in Wayne County.

Together, Exelon’s two Upstate plants provide “carbon-free” electricity for more than 2.5 million homes and businesses while employing more than 1,500 full-time staff, the PSC said.

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com

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