The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) says there is plenty riding on the fate of the Exelon (NYSE:EXC) nuclear power fleet in Illinois and warned of dire economic consequences in the event of premature reactor retirements.
During recent months, Exelon has been making the case that current market conditions don’t properly reward merchant nuclear power.
Exelon has six nuclear plants that include 11 reactor units in Illinois. They are: Braidwood Generating Station in Will County (two reactors); Byron Generating Station in Ogle County (two reactors): Clinton Power Station in DeWitt County (one reactor); Dresden Generating Station in Grundy County (two reactors); LaSalle County Generating Station in LaSalle County (two reactors); Quad Cities Generating Station in Rock Island County (two reactors).
During full-power operations, the 11 reactors provide 11,541 MW of around-the-clock electricity for Illinois homes and businesses. Over the last 10 years, the facilities have operated at 96% of capacity, “which is above the industry average and significantly higher than all other forms of electric generation,” NEI said.
Exelon’s nuclear plants in Illinois generated nearly 100 million megawatthours (MWH) of electricity in 2013—about 48% of the electricity generated in the state that year.
“The facilities generated nearly 100 billion kilowatt-hours of carbon-free electricity in 2013, enough to serve the yearly needs for more than seven million people year-round, or 10.5 million households if all of the electricity went to the residential sector,” NEI said in its analysis.
In 2013, the 11 reactors prevented the release of 79.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, about the same amount released by 15 million cars each year, NEI said.