Canadian Manufacturing

Owners of only nuclear power plant in Massachusetts plan shutdown by 2019, citing costs

Owners say poor market conditions, reduced revenues and increased costs led to decision

BOSTON—The owners of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth announced Tuesday that they will close the plant by June 2019.

Entergy Corp. said it is closing the only nuclear power plant in Massachusetts because of “poor market conditions, reduced revenues and increased operational costs.”

The decision comes about a month after federal inspectors said they would increase oversight of the plant in the wake of a shutdown during a winter storm. The plant needs millions of dollars in safety improvements.

The 680-megawatt plant, which went online in 1972, was relicensed in 2012 for another 20 years.

The timing of the shutdown depends on several factors, including further discussion with ISO-New England, the operators of the region’s power grid.

Entergy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Leo Denault said the decision to close Pilgrim was “incredibly difficult.”

Low current and forecast low wholesale energy prices are expected to lead to annual losses of more than $40 million in revenue for Pilgrim.

Bill Mohl, president of Entergy Wholesale Commodities, said Tuesday that the plant is expected to spend $45 million to $60 million under the enhanced oversight of the plant.

After shutting down, Pilgrim will transition to decommissioning. The Pilgrim nuclear decommissioning trust had a balance of about $870 million as of Sept. 30, 2015.

The spent nuclear fuel at the site will be placed in storage onsite and could be there for decades.

The decision to close the plant was a “decision of last resort,” Mohl said.

“Losing Pilgrim as a significant power generator not only poses a potential energy shortage, but also highlights the need for clean, reliable, affordable energy proposals,” Gov. Charlie Baker said.

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