Nuclear power company to consider plant closures

LIMERICK, Pa. (AP) -- The company that operates a southeastern Pennsylvania nuclear plant says it may decide within a year to shut down some of its 11 nuclear power stations if a way to make them profitable cannot be found.

Exelon Corp., parent company of Limerick Generating Station owner Exelon Nuclear, said it has no current plans to close any nuclear plants before the end of their "federally licensed operating lives" except the Oyster Creek plant, which will close in 2019.

But company spokesman Dana Melia told The (Pottstown) Mercury in an email last week ( ) that low wholesale power prices and "the unintended consequences of current energy policies" are posing challenging economics for several units.

Melia said officials constantly review economic viability of plants and believe power markets recover, but "if we do not see a long-term path to sustainable profitability for a particular unit, then we will consider all options, including unit shutdowns."

Limerick is seeking a 20-year renewal of its license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Melia said the plant "continues to be a very strong performer."

This month, company president and CEO Christopher Crane told financial analysts on a conference call discussing fourth quarter financial results that despite the company's best year in generation, some units remained unprofitable.

"If we do not see a path to sustainable profits, we will be obligated to shut units down to avoid the long-term losses," Crane said, adding that decision could come as soon as the end of 2014, according to a transcript published by Seeking Alpha.


Information from: The Mercury,