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FirstEnergy plans to close Beaver nuclear facility in 2021

Patrick Varine
| Wednesday, March 28, 2018, 10:51 p.m.
Above, empty dry storage containers at the FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company Beaver Valley Power Station. FirstEnergy officials announced plans to close the plant in 2021.
Above, empty dry storage containers at the FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company Beaver Valley Power Station. FirstEnergy officials announced plans to close the plant in 2021.

FirstEnergy plans to close three of its nuclear power plants, including one in Beaver County, within the next three years.

FirstEnergy officials made the announcement in a March 28 release .

They will close the Beaver Valley Power Station in Shippingport and two plants in Ohio as well.

The company cited weak power prices, insufficient results from recent capacity auctions, and weak demand forecasts.

The total capacity of the three plants is more than 4,000 megawatts. The Beaver Valley facility is the largest at 1,872 megawatts.

FirstEnergy officials said the decision to close the plants was not undertaken lightly.

“Though the plants have taken aggressive measures to cut costs, the market challenges facing these units are beyond their control,” said Don Moul, president of FES Generation Companies and chief nuclear officer.

Moul said FirstEnergy would welcome help from state lawmakers as an alternative to closing the plants.

“We call on elected officials in Ohio and Pennsylvania to consider policy solutions that would recognize the importance of these facilities to the employees and local economies in which they operate, and the unique role they play in providing reliable, zero-emission electric power for consumers in both states.”

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has been verbally notified of the deactivations, according to the company, and a required written notification will be made to the agency within 30 days.

The two-year-plus lead time is needed to make the complex preparations for a potential plant deactivation, including preparing a detailed decommissioning plan and working with the NRC to amend plant licenses.

The Shippingport facility is scheduled to close in 2021.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar. Staff writer Theresa Clift contributed to this report.

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