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Closing Ohio, Pennsylvania nuclear units would hurt economy, environment: Brattle Group

The closure of five nuclear units in Ohio and Pennsylvania owned and operated by FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co., and one operated in Pennsylvania by Exelon Generation, would have an adverse impact on the environment and economy of those states, according to an industry-sponsored analysis the Brattle Group released Monday.

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Fenoc said March 28 it would close its single-unit Davis-Besse in 2020 -- and its single-unit Perry plant in that state and its two-unit Beaver Valley in Pennsylvania in 2021 -- because those four generating units were losing money because of low power market demand and prices.

Exelon Generation said last May that it would close its Three Mile Island-1 in Pennsylvania "on or about September 30, 2019" for the same reasons.

Both companies have appealed to legislators in both Ohio and Pennsylvania to provide support for those units similar to zero-emission-credit programs established in Illinois and New York, but so far neither state has passed such a bill.



Closing those six nuclear units would "increase annual CO2 emissions by over 20 million mt, equivalent to 4.5 million [more] cars on the roads and potential social costs of over $900 million/year," energy consulting firm The Brattle Group and pro-nuclear advocacy group Nuclear Matters, which sponsored the analysis, said Monday in a statement.

Closure of the units would also "increase annual emissions of harmful air pollutants such as SO2, NOx, and particulate matter by tens of thousands of tons, with potential social costs of $170 million per year," and "increase annual electricity costs by as much as $400 million annually for Ohio residents and $285 million for Pennsylvanians," the groups said in their statement.

Additionally, closing those plants would "put more than 3,000 direct jobs at risk, as well as thousands of additional secondary jobs," and would "eliminate tens of millions of dollars in local tax revenues," The Brattle Group and Nuclear Matters said.

Judd Gregg, a former Republican Senator from New Hampshire who is a member of the Nuclear Matters Advocacy Council, said in the statement "it is imperative that we act to prevent closure of these four nuclear plants, which contribute needed diversity to Ohio and Pennsylvania's overall energy supply and provide residents a dependable power source in extreme weather situations."

--Steven Dolley, steven.dolley@spglobal.com

--Edited by Valarie Jackson, newsdesk@spglobal.com