The nuclear dominoes continue to fall with the latest announcement coming from embattled Entergy as the company announced it will close its FitzPatrick plant in upstate New York. The closure is slated for late 2016 or early 2017. The plant is the latest victim of the notoriously poor economics that have plagued the nuclear sector for some time. Entergy has already closed its Vermont Yankee reactor and announced it will also shutter its Pilgrim plant near Plymouth, MA.
The announcement that FitzPatrick will close is particularly welcome given the reactor, a GE Mark I boiling water reactor and the same design as those at Fukushima, is the only U.S. plant not to voluntarily install a hardened vent on its notoriously weak containment. This means that if the reactor were to undergo a severe accident the plan would be to vent the radioactive and explosive gases and extremely hot steam into an adjacent building, blowing the doors off at ground level and releasing radioactivity into the atmosphere. While the news of the reactor's impending shutdown is welcome, residents around Oswego and far beyond remain in peril for at least another year or more while the deeply flawed and dangerous reactor continues to operate.