Pilgrim nuclear plant offline as winter storm hits New England

The Entergy (NYSE:ETR) Pilgrim nuclear plant was listed at zero generation early Feb. 9 by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Entergy had said on social media Feb. 7 that “in preparation for Storm Mars, Pilgrim Nuclear made the conservative decision to take the plant off line. Safety is our first priority.”

The Pilgrim plant is located in Plymouth, Mass. While the forecast for Feb. 9 wasn’t too bad, the National Weather Service reported that blizzard conditions were already met Feb. 8 for six locations in Southeast New England – including Plymouth.

“We are currently still offline and the answer to when we will go back online is information that is market sensitive and we are not allowed by regulation to make the day and time public,” a plant spokesperson said in an email. “While the plant is shut down we are doing maintenance that can only be done while the plant is not in operation,” the spokesperson said.

Entergy announced in October 2015 that it plans to retire the 680-MW boiling water reactor (BWR) no later than June 2019.

Entergy Wholesale Commodities (EWC) said it was retiring the Pilgrim plant largely because of market conditions and operational costs at the single-unit facility. Among other things, the company also noted that there was not provision for nuclear energy in the proposed Massachusetts Clean Energy Standard and that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had rejected nuclear compensation as part of the proposed winter fuel reliability plan submitted by ISO New England.

Pilgrim has also been facing tougher oversight from NRC due to various operational issues.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.