Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station to be shut down

The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station
The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station | Courtesy of Entergy Corp.

Citing poor market conditions, reduced revenues and increased operational costs, Entergy Corporation said on Tuesday that it will close the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Massachusetts by June 1, 2019. 

"The decision to close Pilgrim was incredibly difficult because of the effect on our employees and the communities in which they work and live," Leo Denault, Entergy's chairman and chief executive officer, said. "Our people at Pilgrim are dedicated and skilled, a wonderful blend of young professionals and seasoned, experienced veterans, who for decades have been generating clean power and contributing millions of dollars of economic activity to the region. But market conditions and increased costs led us to reluctantly conclude that we had no option other than to shut down the plant."

Opened in 1972, the Pilgrim plant generates 680 megawatts of nearly carbon-free electricity, which is enough to power more than 600,000 homes. 

One factor that influenced the shutdown decision was a recent ruling by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that put the plant under its most stringent oversight category. That decision could result in the plant incurring annual after-tax net losses on an operational basis ranging from approximately $10 million to $30 million for 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Entergy's management said the shutdown should have a neutral to positive effect on cash flow through 2020.

The exact shutdown date for the plant is expected to be announced in the first half of 2016.

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