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As secret talks over FitzPatrick nuclear plant near end, owner sends a warning via

SCRIBA, N.Y. – Entergy Corp. cranked up the heat Friday in its negotiations with the state on the future of the FitzPatrick nuclear plant in Oswego County.

The company told investors that the plant is such a money-losing stinker that the nuke is worth almost $1 billion less than what it showed on the company books.

At the same time, the company said it has not yet decided whether to close the plant that is vital to the Oswego County economy.


Entergy has previously announced shutdowns at two other nuclear plants – Vermont Yankee and Pilgrim — but those announcements came abruptly. At FitzPatrick, Entergy created a cloud of uncertainty when it announced in September that the plant might or might not close next year. Five weeks have gone by, and Entergy officials still have not disclosed what it would take to avoid a shutdown.

The write-down announced Friday sounds huge: Entergy will take a one-time charge of $965 million to reduce the value of FitzPatrick on its books.

That will lower the company’s third-quarter earnings by $624 million after taxes, or about $3.48 per share. (A similar write-down at the Pilgrim nuclear plant near Boston, which is slated to close, will reduce earnings by another $2.45 per share.)

But the write-down is a non-cash charge. It tells company investors that their nuclear plant isn’t worth as much as they thought, but it won’t actually cut into the company’s cash flow.

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