James A. Fitzpatrick 1

The James A. Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant was built in Scriba, New York, in July of 1975. The power plant takes up 900 acres of land, which it shares with two additional energy-generating units at the Nine Mile Point Nuclear Generating Station. The Fitzpatrick Plant has only one reactor, and is cooled by Lake Ontario. The unit has a capacity for 838 net megawatts. The Fitzpatrick Plant was built by Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, which sold the plant to Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. in 2000.

In an effort to improve safety and performance, Entergy implemented a new type of software for strategic asset management at the Fitzpatrick plant in 2003.  Some of the benefits of the program include the capacity for technicians to quickly access the repair history of particular pieces of equipment.  Only three other nuclear power plants in the northeast – Indian Point 1 and 2 and Pilgrim Power Station – had used this software before, though 14 of the 17 largest utilities used it at the time.

Though power plants are more widely known for their emission of air, water, and land pollutants and their nuclear waste, many stations now utilize environmentally safe technologies and machinery in an effort to cut back on such emissions. However, many workers may still have experienced health risks.  Asbestos was used in homes, schools, military ship yards and vessels, buildings, factories, and power plants for decades. Because of its unusual qualities, such as its ability to withstand extreme heat, asbestos was originally thought to be a magic mineral. However, it is now widely known that asbestos is the main cause of a rare and aggressive cancer known as mesothelioma, along with other serious conditions.

When workers inhaled, they often were breathing in or swallowing fine particles of asbestos fibers. These fibers, though invisible to the naked eye, are extremely detrimental to the health of power plant workers. The fibers gather in the lungs, stomach, or heart and over an extended period of time result in mesothelioma.  Unfortunately, many power plant workers were also unaware that asbestos could be shared with their families and loved ones through secondhand exposure. Fibers collected in hair and on clothes and often could be found in the air of towns situated near power plants.