Nuclear Matters Comments on Return to Service of FitzPatrick Nuclear Plant

Washington, D.C. – March 1, 2017 – Nuclear Matters today issued the following statement on the return to service of the James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power plant in Scriba, New York, following its planned refueling outage:

“With the return to service of the FitzPatrick nuclear plant following its planned refueling outage, New York is once again reminded of the many economic, environmental, and community benefits provided by the continued operation of our nuclear power plants.  New York’s nuclear plants provide 32 percent of the state’s electricity – and roughly 60 percent of its carbon-free generation – and are vital contributors to the baseload power generation of the state, providing affordable, reliable electricity to consumers.  Without New York’s nuclear plants, the state would find it impossible to meet its clean energy goals, including to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent and generate half of New York's electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

“The Clean Energy Standard (CES), which was the product of months of discussion and consideration, is such an important, groundbreaking policy because it paved the way for the continued operation of the FitzPatrick plant, along with all of New York’s upstate nuclear facilities.  We applaud Governor Cuomo and the Public Service Commission for their visionary leadership in advocating the CES.  It is also important to note that the CES has gained the support of a wide coalition of hundreds of organizations, including business and labor groups, electricity providers, and environmentalists.

“As independent reports have demonstrated, the CES will have numerous benefits, including saving New York ratepayers roughly $1 billion per year in electricity costs, boosting the state’s GDP by billions of dollars each year, supporting thousands of jobs, and creating environmental benefits in excess of $700 million per year.

“Looking at the FitzPatrick plant specifically, the benefits of its continued operation are clear.  The plant employs more than 600 individuals in well-paying jobs, provides carbon-free energy for more than 800,000 homes in New York, accounts for more than half a billion dollars annually in regional economic activity, and is a major contributor of tax revenue, which goes toward funding important community services.

“Refueling outages provide major boosts to plant communities and the local economy, filling hotels and restaurants and increasing traffic at local business such as gas stations.  Typically refueling outages bring in up to 2,000 additional workers.  In the case of FitzPatrick, more than 1,000 workers, many from the skilled trades in Central New York, Albany, and the Finger Lakes regions, joined the 600 plant personnel in the refueling effort.  This refueling outage would not have happened without the CES.

“The CES is a groundbreaking policy that will allow the state to continue to reap the rewards of nuclear plants that are reliable producers of carbon-free energy and key drivers of jobs and economic growth.  The benefits of the CES are substantial and far outweigh the costs, as the New York Public Service Commission and multiple third-party analyses have made clear.  Recent opposition arguments that the CES will place a costly burden on the state’s municipalities are incorrect and are based on flawed assumptions and analysis.  Such arguments are nothing more than attempts by special interests and anti-nuclear organizations to distort the true facts about the benefits of nuclear and should be disregarded.  The CES is a model of the type of policy solutions that other states should consider in order to retain the many benefits nuclear power plants provide.”