The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


       Saying it’s a necessary but unwelcome step, FirstEnergy Solutions last week filed its plans with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for retraining fuel handlers as part of the process for deactivating the company’s three nuclear power plants.


        Earlier this year, the company announced it planned to deactivate the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station by May 2020. The Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Perry Ohio is scheduled to be deactivated by May 2021 and units 1 and 2 of the Beaver Valley Power Station in Shippingport, Pa. are to be deactivated by May 2021 and October 2021 respectively.

        As required under the decommissioning process, FirstEnergy Solutions submitted its Certified Fuel Handler Training and Retraining Program Wednesday to the NRC.

        Don Moul, FES president and chief nuclear officer, said the submission “…is a necessary milestone for us but not a welcome one. Our nuclear plants provide important environmental, economic and fuel-diversity benefits to our region, but we cannot continue to operate them without state-level policy relief in Ohio and Pennsylvania or immediate and significant market reforms that provide meaningful compensation for the unique attributes nuclear generation provides.”

        He said FES will continue to work with officials in both states on a solution to keep the plants operating.

        “In the meantime we will move forward with the required steps towards deactivation,” Moul said.

        FES must either purchase the fuel required for Davis-Besse’s next refueling by mid-2019 or proceed with the shutdown.

        Combined, the three nuclear plants have a capacity of 4,048 megawatts and last year they contributed about 65 percent of the electricity produced by the FES generating fleet.

        According to the company, the two Ohio nuclear plants represent about 14 percent of the state’s electric generation capacity and 90 percent of its carbon-free emissions capacity.

        Last month, Exelon Corp filed notice with the Securities Exchange Commission it had entered into an agreement to purchase the power business of FES for $140 million.

        Under the agreement, Exelon Generation Co. would purchase FES retail electricity and wholesale load serving contracts and “certain other related commodity contracts.”

        In March, FirstEnergy Corp. announced it was moving forward with its plan to exit the competitive generation business and become a fully regulated utility. Its subsidiary, FES, and its subsidiaries and FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co., voluntarily filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 that month.

        Charles Jones, president and chief executive officer of FirstEnergy, noted at the time that FirstEnergy and its other subsidiaries were not part of the bankruptcy filing.

        Many operators of coal and nuclear plants haven’t been able to compete against less expensive power generated by natural gas as well as renewable sources.

        In his May 21 blog, John Finnigan, attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund, writes that capacity has risen as old coal plants close and new natural gas plants open.

        “In PJM, the largest regional electricity in the country, 1.9 gigawatts of coal plants closed in 2017       as 2.8 gigawatts of new natural gas plants were added. Utility companies must have access to enough power plants to produce all the electricity needed to serve their customers – known as capacity. In the PJM region, utilities purchase electricity capacity through auctions in which power plant owners bid to meet the utilities’ demand. In the latest PJM capacity auction for 2020-2021, prices fell 23 percent – showing that we have more power plants than we need, as far as the eye can see,” he wrote.





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