The Public Services Enterprise Group and Exelon, owners of the Salem nuclear power plant in New Jersey, filed notice with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday that gives notice to the state that capital investment in the two-reactor plant will cease without a guarantee of financial assistance from taxpayers.
The filing set up a standard tit-for-tat among nuclear power opponents who said the Salem facility was currently profitable and that the filing was a “ploy” to get the state to pass a bill that failed in the state capital in 2017, which would provide a subsidy of between $300 million to $350 million per year to the plant's owners. Exelon and PSEG are are trying to keep the plant operating despite a skid in wholesale prices for electricity due to the advent of hydro-fracking, which has lead to an unexpected excess of natural gas on the market, a glut that is lowering energy prices.
A spokesman for PSEG Nuclear said the so-called “ploy” was the real McCoy. “We do not make frivolous SEC filings,” he said.
“Exelon is reluctant to make long-term investments in the Salem plant given the uncertainty about its long-term future. We understand their concerns and have agreed to cancel certain capital projects,” NJ.com quoted Delmar as saying.
While the projects in question range from small to large, the plant's owners will continue to invest in any federally mandated capital project, the companies asserted.
Salem Unit 1 and 2 represent half the reactors in the state, which derives 40 percent of its electricity from nuclear power. Of the other two reactors, Oyster Creek, also owned by Exelon, is slated to close this year, the company advancing its previous closure date in 2019 due to economic headwinds. The other nuclear plant in New Jersey is
PSEG-owned Hope Creek, which is also in Salem County.
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