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Entergy shuts down Pilgrim nuclear station permanently

Entergy Corp. permanently shut down its 683-MW Pilgrim nuclear facility in Plymouth, Mass., at 5:28 p.m. ET on May 31, after 47 years of operations.

Entergy announced the planned retirement of Pilgrim in October 2015, even if the facility is licensed until 2032, due to several economic factors including low wholesale energy prices.

Following Pilgrim's shutdown and reactor de-fueling, Entergy will sell the nuclear facility to Holtec International Inc. subsidiary Nuclear Asset Management Co. LLC, a decommissioning specialty company.

The deal is subject to certain closing conditions, including the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's approval of a license transfer. Holtec intends to complete plant decommissioning decades earlier than if Entergy continued to own the facility, according to a June 3 company news release.

According to ISO New England's summer reliability assessment released May 15, Pilgrim's capacity will be replaced by 1,185 MW of new capacity coming online in 2019. Resources include three dual-fuel power plants that can burn either natural gas or oil, five new solar facilities with a total nameplate capacity of about 87 MW, and a 44-MW wind farm.

Entergy's remaining operating nuclear projects in merchant power markets are slated for closure in 2020, 2021 and 2022. They will also be sold to decommissioning specialty companies, marking Entergy's exit from merchant power markets and its return to pure-play utility business.