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Shutdown of nuclear plant a wake-up call

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Entergy Corporation recently announced that it is planning to shut down Yankee nuclear power plant — the only nuclear power plant in Vermont.

This announcement should be of great concern to the central New York community in light of the fact that Oswego County is home to three nuclear plants, one of which, the James A. Fitzpatrick plant, is owned by Entergy.

Apparently, there are a number of reasons why Entergy decided to stop power production at the Yankee facility. Two of the reasons are that the state government in Vermont has been opposed to the continued operation of the facility and financial factors. As a result of the shutdown, Vermont will lose approximately 630 good paying jobs.

Oswego’s three nuclear power plants employ more than 1,000 workers, have a tremendous positive impact on our local property tax base and continue to be a good source of clean, reliable energy for our area. However, the closure of the Yankee facility should be a wake-up call to policymakers in New York that we cannot take the continued operation of our nuclear power plants for granted.

In order to ensure the viability of the plants in Oswego, we need to upgrade New York’s electric transmission system. Currently, our state’s transmission system is antiquated and, as a result of bottlenecks, the plants in Oswego are prevented from moving electric power throughout the state to areas of high demand. Improving the transmission system would improve the economic viability of the plants and possibly attract the construction of a new facility.

Further, we must resist the anti-nuclear rhetoric coming from state leaders including, at times, the governor. The plants in Oswego have operated safely for decades, and the electricity they produce is an essential part of a balanced energy portfolio. Closure of any of the facilities will make our portfolio less diverse and could result in higher energy costs — something New York definitely doesn’t need!

While there is no indication as of now that Entergy has plans to close the Fitzpatrick facility, the closure of Vermont’s Yankee nuclear power plant should motivate New York to implement policies that would ensure the continuation of our nuclear facilities in our state.

William A. Barclay

Pulaski

The writer is the assemblyman for the 120th District.

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