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Exelon Generation to Retire Byron and Dresden Nuclear Plants in Illinois

Power News - Published on Mon, 31 Aug 2020

Image Source: Strategic Research Institute, SteelGuru
Exelon Generation announced that it intends to retire its Byron Generating Station and Dresden Generating Station in fall 2021, resulting in the loss of four nuclear generation units that together supply clean, zero-emissions energy to more than four million homes and businesses in northern Illinois. Byron, located just outside Byron in Illinoi will close in September 2021 and Dresden located in Morris in Illinoi will close in November 2021.

Dresden is licensed to operate for another decade and Byron for another 20 years. Together, they employ more than 1,500 full-time employees and 2,000 supplemental workers during refueling outages, most from local union halls. The plants pay nearly $63 million in taxes annually to support local schools, fire, police and other services. The two plants supply 30 percent of Illinois’ carbon-free energy and are essential to meeting the state’s goal to achieve 100 percent clean energy.

Despite being among the most efficient and reliable units in the nation’s nuclear fleet, Dresden and Byron face revenue shortfalls in the hundreds of millions of dollars because of declining energy prices and market rules that allow fossil fuel plants to underbid clean resources in the PJM capacity auction, even though there is broad public support for sustaining and expanding clean energy resources to address the climate crisis. The plants’ economic challenges are further exacerbated by a recent FERC ruling that undermines longstanding state clean energy programs and gives an additional competitive advantage to polluting energy sources in the auction. As a result of these market rules, Exelon Generation’s LaSalle and Braidwood nuclear stations in Illinois, each of which house two nuclear units and together employ more than 1,500 skilled workers, are also at high risk for premature closure.

While retirement preparations are underway, employees will continue to operate the plants at world-class levels of safety and operational excellence until they are decommissioned. Exelon Generation will work to place affected plant employees at other Exelon facilities or help them transition to positions outside the company, wherever possible.

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Posted By : Yogender Pancholi on Mon, 31 Aug 2020
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