Wednesday, 23 August, 2017

Power play: Three Mile Island to shut down by 2019

Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant to Close in 2019	 	 	 			Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant to Close in 2019 Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station
Marta Holmes | 04 June, 2017, 05:35

Exelon, the energy company that runs the nuclear power plant says it will close around September 2019 - barring a last-second policy shift by state officials to include nuclear power in the state's alternative-energy ambitions.

Exelon's announcement about Three Mile Island comes after what it called more than five years of losses on the single-unit power plant and its recent failure in a capacity auction to sell the plant's power into the regional grid. Although the plant survived the worst nuclear disaster in US history, the plant isn't the casualty of its own infamy - indeed, it ran for decades after the meltdown and clean up - but of the natural gas boom and renewable energy.

So-called nuclear bailouts have won approval in IL and NY, but the potential for higher utility bills in Pennsylvania is generating resistance from rival energy companies, manufacturers and consumer advocates.

"Though legislation has not yet been proposed in Pennsylvania, we are encouraged by the discussions going on in the state about the importance of nuclear", she said.

Or, the legislature could give nuclear power credits for not producing climate-changing pollution, Exelon said, pointing out that approach has been taken recently by legislators in IL and regulators in NY.

Following the accident, one tower never went online again. However, Folmer emphasized that he was against a "bailout" of the nuclear plant. The power plant has continued to be in operation since the partial meltdown, but the reactor's days are numbered. Exelon Corp., the company that owns the nuclear power plant, announced the closure Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a recently formed state Nuclear Energy Caucus, a group of lawmakers that wants to keep the state's five nuclear plants operating, said in a statement that closing Three Mile Island has the state facing "serious and consequential underlying issues" in its energy sector.

Pennsylvania is the nation's No. 2 nuclear power state, after IL. In its announcement, Exelon pledged to continue talks to avoid retiring the plant, which has an operating license until 2029. The statement notes that nuclear power, despite producing emissions-free electricity, is not among the 16 clean power sources the state recognizes. Exelon has indicated it will consider closing the other plant, Quad Cities, if it does not begin to receive subsidies passed in IL a year ago. Three Mile Island employs about 675 people, produces enough electricity to power 800,000 homes and pays more than $1 million in state property taxes a year, the company said. And electricity consumption plateaued as the recession reduced power demand and energy efficiency improved.

Cooling towers at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Middletown, Pa.

. Just last week an executive at Sempra Energy, the parent of Southern California Gas and San Diego Gas & Electric Co., and a minority owner of San Onofre, told a utility conference that the technology exists today for California to get all its power from solar and wind, rather than keeping fossil-fueled generation around to provide constant base-load electricity.

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