New York’s 3.4 GW nuclear capacity provides 1/5 of of New York’s electricity, and 42% of carbon-free power. Three nuclear power plants — Ginna, Nine Mile Point, and FitzPatrick — are located on the south shore of Lake Ontario and are owned and operated by Constellation.
At their peak, New York’s reactors provided a combined 5.4 GW of capacity and generated one third of the state’s grid electricity.
Nine Mile Point
Nine Mile Point is home to New York’s youngest and largest reactor: Nine Mile Point Unit 2. This boiling water reactor has a nameplate capacity of almost 1,400 MW (1,285 MW net summer capacity) and went into operation on March 11, 1988. It is the only reactor in New York that has a cooling tower and is licensed for operation till 10/31/2046.
Nine Mile Point Unit 1 is also a boiling water reactor, but smaller and older than its on-site sibling: Operational since December 1, 1969, its 622 MW generate about 5,000 gigawatt-hours every year. It is New York’s oldest operating reactor with a current operating license lasting through 8/22/2029.
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the U.S. Department of Energy are funding a demonstration project at Nine Mile Point that will become the nation’s first nuclear-powered clean hydrogen production facility in 2023.
James A. FitzPatrick
The James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant is home to New York’s second-largest operating reactor: An 854 MW boiling water reactor that generated ~7,400 gigawatt-hours of electricity in 2021. Like the Nine Mile Point plant next door, it is located in the Town of Scriba. The reactor went into operation on July 28, 1975 and is licensed till 10/17/2034. Constellation employs about 600 workers at FitzPatrick with an estimated payroll of $65 million per year.
The Robert Emmett Ginna Nuclear Power Plant is located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, in the town of Ontario, approximately 20 miles (32 km) east of Rochester, New York. It is a single unit Westinghouse 2-Loop pressurized water reactor. Having gone into commercial operation in 1970, Ginna is now the second oldest nuclear power reactor, after Nine Mile unit 1, still in operation in the United States when the Oyster Creek power plant was permanently shut down on September 17, 2018.
Ginna has a capacity of 580 MW with an annual generation of ~5,000 gigawatt-hours. The plant employs 600 workers. The annual payroll is approximately $66M and in 2017 the plant contributed $9M in property tax payments. Without a license extension, Ginna will shut down permanently on 9/18/2029.
The atomic age for New York’s electricity began on September 16, 1962, with the operation of Indian Point 1, a 275 MW boiling water reactor. Indian Point 1 shut down in 1974 for economic and regulatory reasons. By that time, however, Unit 2 was already operational and Unit 3 entered operation less than two years later. At over one gigawatt each, they turned Indian Point into the most powerful nuclear power plant in New York, providing about 25% of New York City’s electricity, all emission-free.
Following a decades-long campaign from anti-nuclear groups and politicians willing to benefit from the artificial and largely fear-driven movement against this plant, Indian Point Unit 2 shut down on April 30, 2020, and Unit 3 shut down on April 30, 2021. In its last run, Unit 3 set the current record for the longest uninterrupted operating period for a light water commercial power reactor, at 753 days of continuous operation. The closure of this plant removed ~1,000 full-time jobs from the region. While total payroll at Indian Point was estimated at $140 million per year, the current decommissioning employs a mere ~300 workers at lower pay.
The Village of Buchanan, host of Indian Point, as well as the Town of Courtlandt and the Henry Hudson School district are only beginning to cope with the budget shortfalls resulting from the closure.
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