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Anti-nuclear activists slam New York State move to transfer ‘decommissioning funds’ to energy companies via Daily News

ALBANY — Anti-nuclear activists are blasting the state for agreeing to turn over about $1.5 billion it held in nuclear plant decommissioning funds to two energy companies.

The New York Power Authority agreed to transfer the $683.8 million decommission fund for the Indian Point nuclear plant to Entergy, which recently reached agreement with the state to shut down the Westchester County facility by 2021.

It is also turning over the $746.2 million decommission trust fund for the FitzPatrick nuclear plant in upstate Oswego County to Exelon Generation, which is purchasing the facility from Entergy as part of a bailout plan by Gov. Cuomo for three aging upstate nuclear facilities.

By transferring the decommission funds, the state is giving up major leverage when it comes to closing and cleaning up the sites in the future, according to the head of Nuclear Information and Resource Service, an anti-nuclear power organization founded nearly four decades ago.

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The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently signed off on the transfers of the decommission trust funds.

The trust funds are required for every nuclear power plant in the U.S. to ensure there is sufficient money when a plant is due to be taken out of commission. They are funded from fees on consumer electric bills.

Traditionally, the trust funds have been held by the licensed operators of the individual nuclear plants.

But when NYPA in 2000 transferred the operating licenses for the Indian Point and FitzPatrick plants to Entergy, it held on to the decommission trust funds.

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But environmental groups have expressed frustration that they have been unable to examine the agreements, particularly pertaining to the upstate bailout of the three nuclear power plants, two of which are currently owned by Exelon and the third, FitzPatrick, that is being sold by Entergy to Exelon.

Under the deal, Entergy agreed to sell the FitzPatrick plant to Exelon for $110 million. Exelon will then be the sole beneficiary of a multiyear state-approved subsidy that could total $7.6 billion, which critics say is the largest state-approved subsidy for a single private entity.

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The multibillion-dollar subsidy that Exelon will receive, known as a zero-emission credit, will come from utilities across the state that are required to buy power from the nuclear plants at inflated prices.

A recent report by a coalition of groups opposing the plan says the change will add $2.3 billion in costs that will be shared by residential customers across the state. For Con Edison consumers, that would mean an extra $705 million over the next 12 years, the report said.

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