FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant still offline after unexpected shutdown

Jun 30, 2016

The FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant is still offline as its employees and New York state continue their inspection of why the plant unexpectedly shut down last week.

Entergy spokesperson Jerry Nappi said FitzPatrick employees proactively shut the reactor down Friday after discovering a power supply loss to one of its pumps. The incident was related to a malfunction of one of the plant's oil tanks that caused an estimated 20 to 30 gallons of non-radioactive lubrication oil to spill into Lake Ontario.

It's the latest in a string of mishaps at FitzPatrick and Entergy's other New York plant, Indian Point outside of New York City, but Nappi said both facilities are operating reliably.

"FitzPatrick is an incredibly well run facility," Nappi said. "It operates very reliably. It's designed to shutdown automatically and operators are trained to shut it down if any of 100 things is not operating the exact way it should and that's what happened in this case."

Nappi wouldn't provide a timeline for when the plant would return to operation, just that it would be done after the necessary repairs are completed. And the company has hired a contractor to clean up the spilled oil.

In the meantime, the New York State Public Service Commission and Department of Environmental Conservation are investigating the shutdown as well. Several green energy groups and public officials say unexpected incidents like these reinforce their calls for the aging nuclear plants to retire.