Three Mile Island power plant to close in 2019

Either that, or the state could pass a ZEC program like NY or IL. Nuclear power, which has very static operating costs and fuel prices, lacks the agility other generating options offer. However, Folmer emphasized that he was against a "bailout" of the nuclear plant.

On Tuesday, TMI's Chicago-based owner Exelon Corp. announced it will prematurely retire the nuclear plant on or about September 30, 2019, absent some energy policy reforms.

Around the US, nuclear plants have been hammered by the natural gas boom.

Cooling towers emit steam at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant on March 18, 2011. With some added irony, Pennsylvania is a state where the technique of fracking has contributed significantly to the turnaround in the energy market.

But the legislators - Sens.

State Sens. Ryan Aument (R) and John Yudichak (D) and state Reps.

Exelon says that it is open to discussing potential solutions with lawmakers in Pennsylvania. NY and IL have both approved subsidies to keep nuclear plants in their state afloat, but the move can be controversial because it raises prices for customers.

David Fein, Exelon's vice president for state government affairs, said Exelon has not discussed any specific legislative proposals with Pennsylvania policymakers just yet but did talk about how other states addressed the similar issues facing their nuclear industry. In the days before Chernobyl and Fukushima, three other words were synonymous with nuclear disaster in the United States: Three Mile Island.

The plant, along with other nuclear power installations around the US, has struggled to compete in an electricity market booming with low-cost gas. In Pennsylvania, wholesale power prices have been dropping steadily for the past ten years. Pennsylvania is the largest gas-producing state behind Texas, and a glut of the fuel from its prolific Marcellus Shale has worsened Three Mile Island's situation, he said.

Three Mile Island generates enough power for about 800,000 households.

The plant, about 90 miles west of downtown Philadelphia, was at risk of early retirement after failing to win capacity payments last week, Exelon said on May 24.

Three Mile Island - which experienced a partial reactor meltdown in 1979, spawning nationwide protests - will shut in 2019. Both TMI and Quad Cities failed to clear the PJM auction.

The company said the facility employs 675 people while contracting with an additional 1,500 workers.

FirstEnergy Corp. has said it might decide next year to sell or close its three nuclear plants - Davis-Besse and Perry in OH and Beaver Valley in Pennsylvania. "It's something we're going to have to really examine", Hazen said.

Exelon shares were up 0.82 percent at $36.12 after the news was announced.

Exelon, having stocked up on Harrisburg lobbyists in recent months, operates three of Pennsylvania's five nuclear plants, including Three Mile Island, Limerick Generating Station in Montgomery County and Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in York County.

"Like New York and IL before it, the Commonwealth has an opportunity to take a leadership role by implementing a policy solution to preserve its nuclear energy facilities and the clean, reliable energy and good-paying jobs they provide", he continued.

  • Salvatore Jensen