By David Abel Globe Staff October 13, 2015
The company that owns Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station said Tuesday morning that it plans to close the 43-year-old plant in Plymouth.
The company said in a statement it will close the plant no later than June 2019.
“The decision to close Pilgrim was incredibly difficult because of the effect on our employees and the communities in which they work and live,” Leo Denault, Entergy’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
However, Denault said, “market conditions and increased costs led us to reluctantly conclude that we had no option other than to shut down the plant.”
Company officials plan to hold a press conference at noon Tuesday in Plymouth.
The lapse raised the possibility that a control room fire would compromise the plant’s ability to safely shut down the nuclear reactor.
The decision comes about a month after the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission downgraded the plant’s safety rating. Pilgrim and two reactors in Arkansas are now considered the least safe in the country.
The repairs needed to improve Pilgrim’s safety rating would have likely cost tens of millions of dollars for Entergy Corp., a Louisiana-based energy conglomerate that has owned Pilgrim since 1999. Pilgrim was already facing rising costs, declining revenues, and an energy market increasingly inhospitable to nuclear power.
The decision will have a significant impact on the town of Plymouth as well as the region. The plant employs about 600 people and provides the South Shore town with $10 million a year and other financial benefits.
The closure of the plant could make it significantly harder to meet the state’s goals of cutting its carbon emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below by 2050.