Exelon Corp. (EXC:US), the largest U.S. nuclear plant operator, would consider closing its Oyster Creek station before the plant’s planned 2019 decommissioning, Chief Executive Officer Christopher Crane said.
Exelon would accelerate plans to close Oyster Creek in Forked River, New Jersey, if it faced unexpected new capital costs at a time when depressed power prices and cheap renewable energy are squeezing nuclear generation margins, Crane said in an interview yesterday.
Exelon already has deferred plans to boost capacity at its LaSalle nuclear station in northern Illinois and Limerick plant in Pennsylvania, saving $1.2 billion in the near-term, the chief executive said.
The Chicago-based company also plans to refuel its Clinton nuclear plant annually instead of every two years in a bid to boost profitability at the hardest-hit plant in Exelon’s 17- reactor system, he said.
“That’s a core expense to the company, but hopefully we can keep the plant open longer as we navigate through this issue,” Crane said.
Exelon hasn’t yet considered decommissioning the 1,043- megawatt Clinton, Illinois, station, which is among the youngest in its portfolio, he said. The plant’s economics have been hurt by a glut of cheap wind energy in Illinois.
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