Plant Operation

Pilgrim / Entergy Blames Financial Factors For Closure

By David Dalton
4 June 2019

Entergy Blames Financial Factors For Closure
The Pilgrim nuclear power station has been permanently shut down. Photo NRC/Flickr.
Entergy Corporation has said the decision to permanently shut down its Pilgrim-1 nuclear power plant in Massachusetts was a result of “a number of financial factors” including low wholesale energy prices.

The Pilgrim plant was shut down for the last time at 5:28 pm local time on 30 May. The company said more than 50 Pilgrim employees have accepted offers to continue with Entergy in other locations.

Entergy’s remaining operating nuclear power plants in merchant power markets – Indian Point-2 and -3 in New York, and Palisades in Michigan – are scheduled to be shut down in 2020, 2021, and 2022 respectively. Their closures will mark the end of Entergy’s participation in merchant power markets and its return to a pure-play utility, the company said.

Merchant power plants are a form of non-utility or independent power generation designed for competitive wholesale power marketplaces. Unlike conventional independent power projects, merchant plants do not have upfront, long-term power purchase agreements to cover their output.

Entergy owns and operates five nuclear units in regulated markets: Ano-1 and -2 in Arkansas, Grand Gulf-1 in Mississippi, River Bend-1 and Waterford-3, both in Louisiana. Entergy said it remains committed to the continued operation these plants.

In August, Entergy announced the proposed sale of the subsidiary that owns Pilgrim to a Holtec International subsidiary, a decommissioning specialty company that plans to complete decommissioning at the site decades sooner than if Entergy continued to own the plant. Regulatory approval and closing of the transaction are scheduled for 2019.

Pilgrim-1 is a 677-MW boiling water reactor unit that began commercial operation in December 1972.

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