NEI praises Exelon for delaying any Illinois nuclear plant retirement moves

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) released a statement on Thursday praising the decision by Exelon Corp. to defer any decisions to retire any Illinois nuclear power plants for one year.

Exelon's announcement followed its performance in the PJM capacity auction; both the Quad Cities Nuclear Power Plant and the Byron nuclear facility were selected in the 2017 and 2018 auction. The Quad Cities plant is set to run at least until May 2018, and the Byron facility will run until at least May 2019.

"Although only a temporary reprieve, Exelon's decision is an enormous win for the state of Illinois," Richard Myers, NEI's vice president for policy development and planning, said in a statement. "The Quad Cities and Byron nuclear stations employ almost 1,800 people directly and are responsible for an additional 7,500 indirect jobs in the state. The two facilities produce $3.1 billion a year in total economic value for the state, according to an economic analysis conducted by NEI. In addition to this immense economic value, these nuclear energy facilities are essential if Illinois hopes to reduce its carbon emissions. Quad Cities and Byron produce 34.6 billion kilowatt-hours of carbon-free electricity every year — more than three times the state's entire production from renewable energy."

Myers also said that it is important that the value of nuclear plants be recognized in competitive energy markets and that nuclear energy will likely play a role in U.S. efforts to  reduce carbon emissions.

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