FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 2, 2015
Entergy Corporation announced this morning that it will shut down its ageing FitzPatrick nuclear reactor in late 2016 or early 2017. The reactor is located near Oswego, New York. Entergy said its decision was made because of low energy prices and rising costs for running the reactor. The plant is projected to lose approximately $60 million per year.
Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE), a coalition of environmental and social justice organizations, has been working with national nuclear watchdogs, including the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) and Beyond Nuclear, to investigate and highlight the FitzPatrick reactor’s safety and environmental issues for years. AGREE is headquartered in Syracuse, NY, just 36 miles south of FitzPatrick.
AGREE and NIRS today praised the decision to close and renewed their call for Entergy and state officials to work to ensure a just transition for workers and a safe and responsible decommissioning. Some of the safety concerns the groups have raised include:
- FitzPatrick is a Mark I Boiling Water Reactor, one of 22 similar reactors operating in the U.S. that have the same flawed design as the Fukushima reactors that melted down and exploded in Japan in 2011. Mark I Boiling Water Reactors are known to have containments that are too small to withstand an accident. They are unlikely to keep radiation inside and away from the public and the environment in a nuclear meltdown. FitzPatrick is the only Mark I Boiling Water Reactor in the U.S. that doesn’t have a hardened wetwell vent, which was a fix suggested by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission back in 1989 after the flaw was discovered.
- FitzPatrick is an ageing reactor operating in a competitive energy market. Costs have been rising while revenue has declined. Entergy has been cutting costs and laying off workers at the plant for years, a dangerous situation that has raised the concern of national environmental groups and New York’s Attorney General.
- Every year, FitzPatrick generates approximately 20 metric tons of highly dangerous radioactive waste. The federal government and the nuclear industry have spent decades looking for a permanent solution to dispose of this waste safely, and they have come up empty handed.
The groups hailed the decision by Entergy to shutter its financially struggling reactor. In recent weeks, as news broke that Entergy was attempting to work out a deal with New York State Governor Cuomo, AGREE called on the Governor to avoid bailing out the plant, a prospect that would have cost consumers at least $40-$60 million per year. The group also launched a petition at www.beyondFitzPatrick.org which gained hundreds of signatures calling on Governor Cuomo to let FitzPatrick close and to pursue a just transition for workers and the local community.
AGREE and NIRS have also recently released a White Paper outlining how FitzPatrick can and should be replaced with energy efficiency and wind. They found that doing so will provide huge economic and environmental benefits for Central New York, including lower electricity rates, displacement of fossil fuels, and the creation of thousands of jobs. The paper can be found at www.allianceforagreeneconomy.org/replacing_fitzpatrick.pdf.
In response to Entergy’s announcement today, Jessica Azulay, AGREE’s program director, made the following statement:
“Alliance for a Green Economy supports Entergy’s decision to close the ageing, dirty, and dangerous FitzPatrick reactor. The closure of FitzPatrick will bring New York one step closer to a safe, clean, and sustainable energy future and will remove a dangerous radiological threat from our region. Those of us who have lived in fear of a meltdown at FitzPatrick are looking forward to the day the reactor closes.
“While we celebrate this announcement, our thoughts are also with the workers at FitzPatrick and their families. We will continue to call for a just transition for Entergy’s workforce and for the municipalities in Oswego.
“We hope that local and state officials will take up the call for a safe and responsible decommissioning plan for FitzPatrick: one that keeps a large portion of the workforce employed and ensures that the radiological and toxic waste at the plant is cleaned up, secured, and isolated from humans and the environment. Entergy cannot be allowed to walk away from its mess. The $700 million Decommissioning Trust Fund must be carefully used for the benefit and safety of the local community. We also support the creation of a state fund to provide transitional property tax replacement, wage support, and other economic development for those negatively impacted by this closure.”
AGREE and NIRS will be closely monitoring the Public Service Commission process under which Entergy will seek state approval to close FitzPatrick.
Contact: Jessica Azulay
Alliance for a Green Economy
(917) 697-4472, email@example.com
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
(212) 729-1169, firstname.lastname@example.org