Entergy Shutters Pilgrim For "Financial Factors"

[UPDATED] Entergy Nuclear shut down the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Massachusetts, for the final time on Friday, dropping the number of operating nuclear plants in the United States to 97. 

Pilgrim NPPThe reactor was shutdown in due to “a number of financial factors, including low wholesale energy prices,” Entergy said. As if proclaiming the time of death, Entergy noted that the reactor was shuttered “on Friday, at 5:28 p.m.”

In August, Entergy announced the proposed sale of the subsidiary that owns Pilgrim to a Holtec International subsidiary, a decommissioning specialty company that plans to complete decommissioning at the site decades sooner than if Entergy continued to own the plant. Regulatory approval and closing of the transaction are targeted for 2019. Holtec, through its affiliate Comprehensive Decommissioning International, will hire Entergy’s employees at Pilgrim who have been selected for “Phase I” of decommissioning.

Entergy noted that the closed plant “is another milestone” for the company, which plans to drop it’s electricity generation business and continue as strictly a “pure-play utility business.”

However, Entergy is not there yet. The company owns and operates five nuclear power units in its regulated utility business. These are located in Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi.

The company also said that more than 50 employees had accepted offers to relocate in order to remain on the payroll at Entergy. “Our employees are the backbone of the company and their pride and professionalism are evident every day,” said Entergy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Leo Denault in a statement.

He said the “legacy” of the power plant “is a 47-year record of carbon-free power generation, done safely and securely.”

Those words, however, don’t appear to carry very far in today’s economic and environmental political climate. Pilgrim, which has been in operation since 1973, becomes the tenth nuclear plant to close since 2012, with seven of the ten closing primarily due to economic shifts in the energy market. The other three, one in Crystal River, Florida, and two in San Clemente, California (San Onofre Units 2 and 3) were also closed due to finances, but their troubles involved expensive repairs that the owners believed would not pay off.

Also closed since 2012: Kewaunee Nuclear Power Station in Wisconsin, Vermont Yankee, Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant in Nebraska and Oyster Creek in New Jersey.

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  • Anonymous

    The Feds need to step in and assist plants like this.  As a 41 year Nuclear employee its hard to witness this. Diversification in power generation is a must for a reliable grid.