- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 13, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Negotiations to save the FitzPatrick nuclear power plant from closure by selling it to the operators of a nearby nuclear plant on Lake Ontario are underway.

Exelon said Wednesday it was in discussions to purchase Entergy Corp.’s FitzPatrick plant in Scriba, New York, which employs more than 600 people and produces enough electricity to power more than 800,000 homes.

Exelon, which runs the nearby Nine Mile Point reactors, stressed that any purchase would be contingent on New York adopting a subsidy plan for nuclear reactors that compensates them for their clean emissions. Exelon also would demand a guaranteed long-term revenue stream and a positive impact on earnings.

Entergy Corp. announced in November plans to close the 41-year-old plant due to low natural gas prices, high operational costs and a “flawed” energy market. The New Orleans-based company confirmed Wednesday that Exelon approached them and that talks were continuing.

New York’s four nuclear plants are going through turbulent times amid low power prices. State regulators, who see the plants as a steady source of electricity that doesn’t contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, are considering a subsidy for upstate nuclear plants to help keep them running.

Exelon’s demand that a subsidy be part of any deal to purchase FitzPatrick will likely increase pressure on regulators to quickly adopt the so-called zero emission credit.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday he has directed state agencies to keep working with the parties involved, given the plant’s economic and environmental benefits.

“I am hopeful that a definitive agreement will be reached to ensure these benefits to New Yorkers are realized,” the governor said in a prepared statement.

The proposed subsidy’s cost to electric customers is unclear, though state regulators have said it could cost the average residential customer under a dollar a month.

Chicago-based Exelon also operates the Ginna plant near Rochester.

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