FirstEnergy takes reluctant step toward 3 nuclear plant closures
- FirstEnergy Solutions (FES) said it submitted its Certified Fuel Handler Training and Retraining Program to federal regulators this week, the latest step in the process of prematurely closing down three financially-struggling nuclear power plants.
- FES, the merchant generation arm of FirstEnergy, announced in March that it planned to shutter more than 4 GW of capacity in Ohio and Pennsylvania — though the company says it would prefer to keep them operating with assistance from the states or through changes to wholesale markets.
- The company intends to close the 908 MW Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station and 1,268 MW Perry Nuclear plant in Ohio, and the 1,872 MW Beaver Valley plant in Pennsylvania. According to FES, the Ohio plants generate 14% of the state's generation capacity and 90% of its emissions-free capacity.
FES had sought other possible options for the plants as the company itself struggled financially, but it is now proceeding towards deactivation.
FES had asked the U.S. Department of Energy for an emergency order to provide cost recovery that would allow the plants to remain open, but there has been little movement from the federal government on the issue. Those emergency orders are infrequent and typically issued in response to natural disasters.
"Today's NRC submission is a necessary milestone for us but not a welcome one," FES President and Chief Nuclear Officer Don Moul said in a statement.
The plan calls for Davis-Besse to shutter in May 2020, followed by Perry and Unit 1 of Beaver Valley in May 2021, and Beaver Valley's Unit 2 in October 2021.
Moul said the company intends to work with Ohio and Pennsylvania officials "towards a solution that will enable these plants to continue contributing to cleaner air and regional energy security."
Earlier this year, FES filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as its parent company sought to transform itself into a fully-regulated utility company. Last month, Exelon Corp., announced that it intends to purchase FirstEnergy Solutions retail power business for $140 million.
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