Exelon (NYSE:EXC) issued a statement May 16 saying that the Clinton nuclear plant in Illinois has just started what could be its final refueling outage unless the Illinois Legislature comes to its rescue this spring.
Exelon announced on May 6 that it will retire Clinton Station on June 1, 2017 if adequate legislation is not passed that properly values nuclear power for its economic, environmental and reliability benefits during the spring Illinois legislative session scheduled to end May 31.
Exelon is bringing in 200 additional workers to help with the refueling, which is a smaller contingent than usual due to the limited scope of this refueling, will join the 700 permanent Clinton Station employees in refueling the unit and performing hundreds of inspections and maintenance activities. Much of the work completed in the outage cannot be done while the plant is operating. All of the activities are designed to assure the unit’s safe and reliable operation when online.
Exelon has also said that the dual-unit Quad Cities nuclear plant in Illinois by June 2018 unless legislation is passed soon.
Exelon hasn’t given up on legislation. On May 5, the company endorsed the Next Generation Energy Plan, should help preserve the endangered nuclear plants while increasing Illinois support for solar power and energy efficiency.
The single-unit boiling water reactor (BWR) at the Clinton plant can generate about 1,100. The plant began operation in 1987. Exelon has cited weak energy and capacity markets, the lack of a federal carbon policy (pending enacting of the EPA Clean Power Plan) among the issues hurting nuclear plant economics.
In addition to the two endangered Exelon nuclear plants, management of the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) has recommended that the board retire the 478-MW Fort Calhoun nuclear plant at the end of this year.