NRC gets TMI’s formal shutdown notice

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – The owner of Three Mile Island has formally notified federal regulators that it plans to shut down the nuclear power station in 2019.

Exelon Generation told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it has “decided to permanently cease power operations at TMI, Unit 1 on or about September 30, 2019.”

The company cited economic challenges in its letter.

Exelon announced the closure last month, a week after TMI again failed to sell its electricity to the mid-Atlantic power grid for the 2020-2021 planning year.

The Illinois-based company said TMI hasn’t turned a profit in five years because of low wholesale power prices and the “lack of federal or Pennsylvania energy policies that value zero-emissions nuclear energy.”

The nuclear power industry has been lobbying lawmakers in Pennsylvania and other states for a financial rescue. Cheap natural gas from the Marcellus Shale region has been flooding the power market.

Exelon announced last year that it would close two nuclear power stations in Illinois and two others in upstate New York. Those plans were called off after lawmakers in both states voted to raise electricity rates to bail out the power plants.

A coalition of groups against a legislative rescue, Citizens Against Nuclear Bailouts, said Exelon is “following a nearly identical playbook to the tactics” it used in both states.

“What Exelon fails to disclose, however, is that this week’s filing is not a binding notice but rather another attempt by the company to apply pressure to Pennsylvania legislators to enact a ratepayer bailout that will increase consumer electricity prices,” a coalition spokesman said in a statement.

“The decision to close TMI is a direct result of Exelon’s failure to adapt to changing market conditions after the nuclear industry received nearly $9 billion from ratepayers for the very purpose of transitioning to a competitive electricity market in Pennsylvania.”

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