SPRINGFIELD – After trying and failing to approval from the state of Illinois for a financial plan that would have included a rate hike, Exelon announced Thursday that it would shut down its nuclear plant in Clinton in 2017 and another in the Quad Cities in 2018.
U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis (IL-13) said he hopes there's a chance to keep the plant open, but it will take action from the state legislature. Depending solely on "renewable energy sources" is short-sighted.
"I think the key point that many lose sight of when a large baseload generating plant like Clinton would close is how much of an impact that has on the overall power grid and what that does to the supply, and what that does to prices for consumers," Davis told the News-Gazette. "Renewable energy sources have their place but renewables like wind and solar and even hydropower cannot power the American economy. Nuclear energy does not get the credit it deserves for zero emissions and generating a lot of capacity. Nuclear energy gets a bad rap because of the waste."
UPDATE x1: Congressman Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) issued the following statement:
I’m deeply saddened by Exelon's announcement today that they intend to close the Quad Cities and Clinton nuclear plants. Illinois energy depends heavily on these facilities and will suffer greatly from their closing, but that is only part of the story. Today’s announcement is a tragedy for those workers and their families that have dedicated their professional lives to providing clean and reliable power to our region for decades.
In a time where the Illinois economy is stagnant, the State Legislature should be leading the effort to modernize our energy policies to provide an environment in which these sources of clean, baseload energy are able to survive. I urge those in the State Legislature to quickly find a solution to ensure the rest of our nuclear fleet does not meet the same fate as that of the Quad Cities and Clinton plants.
Exelon said today it will undertake the following actions in reference to the two plans:
— Making permanent shutdown notifications to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission within 30 days.
— Terminating capital investment projects required for long-term operation of Clinton and Quad-Cities, which will affect more than 200 workers.
— Immediately taking one-time charges of $150 million to $200 million for 2016, and accelerating approximately $2 billion in depreciation and amortization through the announced shutdown dates.
— Canceling fuel purchases and outage planning, which will affect more than 1,000 outage workers. The Clinton plant just completed what may have been its last refueling.
Retiring the plants will have a significant economic and environmental impact on the region, Exelon told the News-Gazette. The Clinton and Quad-Cities plants support approximately 4,200 direct and indirect jobs and produce more than $1.2 billion in economic activity annually.