After weeks of speculation and attempts to negotiate an agreement to keep the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant, Entergy announced Monday that the facility in Scriba, Oswego County, will close.
Entergy said the plant will shut down at the end of the current fuel cycle in late 2016 or early 2017.
More than 600 employees will be affected by the closure. The FitzPatrick nuclear plant has been open since 1975.
Leo Denault, Entergy's chairman and CEO, said the decision comes after an assessment of each of the company's nuclear power plants.
"As part of this review, we previously announced the closure of the Pilgrim Nuclear Generating Station in Massachusetts and have now decided that despite good operational performance, market conditions require us to also close the FitzPatrick nuclear plant," Denault said.
Before Monday's announcement, Entergy spent weeks determining whether to close the Oswego County plant. A variety of financial factors were in play, including the facility's reduced revenues — Entergy blames low current and long-term wholesale energy prices for the projected $60 million loss — and low demand for power.
The company also said the high costs to operate FitzPatrick were a factor.
When Entergy first raised the possibility of the plant's closure, federal, state and local elected officials urged the company to keep it open.
U.S. Reps. Richard Hanna and John Katko, both of whom represent Oswego County in Congress, sent a letter in October to the New York State Public Service Commission outlining how losing the plant would hurt the local economy.
Hanna, R-Barneveld, and Katko, R-Camillus, were among the attendees at a rally to save the plant in early October. Assembly members Will Barclay and Robert Oaks, state Sen. Patty Ritchie and Oswego County Legislature Chairman Kevin Gardner also attended the rally to support FitzPatrick.
In a joint statement Monday, Hanna and Katko said they "incredibly disappointed" after learning of Entergy's decision to close FitzPatrick.
"As our community moves forward, we will do everything that we can to support FitzPatrick employees, their families, local leaders and all of Oswego County," the congressmen said. "There is no question that the plant's closure would be a huge loss to our region."
Entergy said Monday it worked with state officials to try and reach a "constructive and mutually beneficial agreement" to avoid FitzPatrick's closure.
The talks were unsuccessful.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo slammed Entergy for deciding to close the plant and said the state will pursue legal and regulatory options to keep it open.
"The closing of the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant will devastate the lives of the more than 600 employees and their families," Cuomo said. "Good corporate citizenship must appreciate that there are many factors that count as the 'bottom line.'"
With FitzPatrick shutting down by early 2017, Entergy will have one nuclear plant in New York — the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan.
Denault said Entergy will do its part to support workers and the surrounding area as they part to shut down the plant.
"As a company we are committed to ensuring the well-being of our employees, and appreciate their continued dedication to making safe, clean, secure and reliable operations a top priority," he said. "Additionally, to the community of Oswego, we would like to express our gratitude for its overwhelming support and willingness to stand with us for more than 40 years."