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FirstEnergy CEO Addresses Potential Closure Of Nuclear Power Plants In Ohio, PA

At FirstEnergy’s annual shareholders meeting Tuesday, President and CEO Chuck Jones addressed the issue of the contributions nuclear power plants make to generating carbon-free electricity and the potential impact if those plants close.

Here is the text of his remarks on nuclear generation—

“In today’s energy business, we cannot succeed with just a good defense.  We also need a strong offense, and that involves taking on the tough issues that have created challenges for our baseload power plants. 

“These include federal policies that favor less-reliable sources of power, such as natural gas and intermittent renewables.  And those policies, in turn, undermine the value of our baseload assets that bring significant fuel security and other benefits to our customers, communities and the environment.

“From an operational standpoint, our baseload plants play a critical role in ensuring our customers have the clean power they need, when they need it. 

“For example, our Davis-Besse, Perry and Beaver Valley nuclear plants have the ability to operate 24/7 – generating enough electricity to power more than 4 million homes, around the clock. 

“In fact, nuclear facilities produce more than 90 percent of the carbon-free power in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

“FirstEnergy’s nuclear plants directly employ approximately 2,300 people – and thousands of additional full-time jobs are tied to these three plants.  In addition, Davis-Besse, Perry and Beaver Valley contribute $29 million each year in state and local tax revenues that support local schools, police and fire departments and other vital public services.

“We’re encouraged by the recently announced U.S. Department of Energy study to examine the full value that baseload generation plants fueled by coal and nuclear provide to our nation’s grid, economy and energy security. 

“Among other issues, the study will focus on the reasons why these plants are prematurely closing, the risk to national and economic security if these closures continue, and what can be done to prevent further loss.

“I commend the Trump Administration – and specifically Energy Secretary Rick Perry – for spearheading this review, and we are fully committed to supporting this effort. 

“At the same time, we’re continuing to pursue other options designed to preserve these essential energy resources in the years ahead.

“For example, we strongly support Ohio’s new Zero-Emissions Nuclear Resource, or ZEN, legislation introduced by Senators Ecklund and LaRose and Representative DeVitis. 

“ZEN would compensate nuclear plants on a per-megawatt basis for the unique benefits they bring to Ohio’s environment, fuel diversity, energy security and resiliency. 

“New York and Illinois have used a similar mechanism to ensure the continued operation of four nuclear facilities in those states.

“These state programs are designed to ensure that the carbon-free and other environmental advantages as well as the fuel-diversity and economic benefits of nuclear generation remain available for many years to come. 

“And the need for this action is demonstrated by the fact that nuclear facilities across the nation are closing prematurely. 

“For example, four nuclear facilities in Wisconsin, Vermont and Nebraska have already shut down, and at least seven others across this region are in danger of closing.

“We simply cannot allow this to happen in Ohio and Pennsylvania – so if you share our concerns and live in either state, I encourage you to reach out to your local senator or representative.”

A copy of Cook’s complete remarks is available online.

(Photo: Three Mile Island, Dauphin County.)


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[Posted: May 16, 2017]


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