Nuclear plant to close: Plymouth Power Plant
Published: October 14, 2015
Nuclear plant to close: Plymouth Power Plant, It was largely an unfavorable economic climate and not a recent downgrade to its safety status that led to Entergy’s decision to shut down Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, according to Entergy President Bill Mohl.
“This is an extremely difficult day for us,” said Mohl. He called the decision to close “not what we hoped for.”
“Pilgrim is no longer financially viable,” he said during a news conference at the Radisson Hotel in Plymouth. The plant, he said, is losing over $40 million a year. Pilgrim Station operates under what he called an uneven playing field as state and regional regulators follow policies that favor other energy sources, including natural gas and Canadian hydroelectric power. “it undermines a competitive market for energy generation by excluding nuclear power.” State Representative Matt Muratore disagreed with Mohl’s statement. Nuclear power has been part of the state’s energy plan, he said. State policy is not, he said, picking winners and losers, as Mohl put it.
Despite the decision to close, Mohl said Entergy will spend between $45 and $60 million needed to make the repairs needed to get Pilgrim out of the NRC doghouse. That cost, he said wasn’t a key factor in the decision to shut down. When asked if that cost could speed up the shutdown process, Entergy’s acting chief of its nuclear fleet, Tim Mitchell, did not answer the question directly, only saying he company as committed to the plant’s safety. “We’re fully committed to working with the RC to ensure the safety of our employees and the community of Plymouth,” Mohl said.
The exact timeline for Pilgrim’s shutdown remains undecided. The plant must disconnect from the New England Power grid by June 1, 2019. Entergy, Mohl said, is committed to providing power to the grid until then. However, he said, that could mean the company buys power from another source to keep its commitment. A final decision about the exact shutdown day will be made early next year.
If the plant remains open long enough, Mohl said, the refueling scheduled for spring 2017 may take place.
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