Exelon begins notice process for Clinton, Quad Cities nuclear retirements

Exelon Generation said June 22 that earlier in the week it formally notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of plans to retire the Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear stations in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

This marks the first of several procedural notifications Exelon will make in the coming months to inform regulators, grid operators and state agencies of the retirements of these Illinois plants. Exelon announced plans to close the plants earlier this month, given the lack of progress on Illinois energy legislation. The Clinton Power Station in Clinton, Ill., will close on June 1, 2017, and the Quad Cities Generating Station in Cordova, Ill., will close on June 1, 2018.

“We worked for more than two years to find a solution, but now it is time to take the necessary steps to retire the plants,” said Chris Crane, Exelon president and CEO. “We are committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure the plants are shut down in a responsible, safe and transparent way.”

Quad Cities and Clinton have lost a combined $800 million in the past seven years, despite being two of Exelon’s best-performing plants, the company said. Exelon employs nearly 700 workers at Clinton and 800 workers at Quad Cities.

Clinton is a single-unit boiling water reactor (BWR) facility that has a nameplate capacity of about 1,100 MW. Quad Cities is a two-unit BWR facility with a total nameplate capacity of more than 2,000 MW. 

Retiring these stations will have a significant economic and environmental impact on the region, Exelon said. The plants support approximately 4,200 direct and indirect jobs and produce more than $1.2 billion in economic activity annually. A state report found that closing the plants would increase wholesale energy costs for the region by $439 million to $645 million annually.

Exelon said it will continue to work with stakeholders on passing the Next Generation Energy Plan that is critical to the state’s environment and economy. While these needed policy reforms may come too late to save some plants, Exelon is committed to working with policymakers and other stakeholders to advance an all-of-the-above plan that would promote zero-carbon energy, create and preserve clean-energy jobs, establish a more equitable utility rate structure and give customers more control over their bills.

Parent Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC) is the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with 2015 revenues of approximately $34.5 billion. Headquartered in Chicago, Exelon does business in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. Exelon is one of the largest competitive U.S. power generators, with more than 32,700 MW of owned capacity.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.