FirstEnergy files deactivation notice for Davis-Besse and two other nuclear power plants

OAK HARBOR, Ohio (WTVG) - FirstEnergy has filed a deactivation notice for three nuclear power plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania, including Davis-Besse in Oak Harbor.

FirstEnergy filed the notice Wednesday. The notice indicates that Davis-Besse, Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Perry, Ohio and Beaver Valley Power Station in Shippingport, Pennsylvania could be deactivated within the next three years. In the interim, the plants will continue normal operations. FirstEnergy, meantime, is seeking a legislative option as an alternative to deactivating or selling the plants.

FirstEnergy says the plants have contributed more than $540 million in taxes throughout their operation to support local communities. The Company says it continues to work toward legislative solutions to keep these plants operating, but will also look for potential buyers as another alternative. About 2,300 plant employees are expected to be affected by the ultimate deactivation.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has been verbally notified of the deactivation, and a required written notification will be made to the agency within 30 days. In addition, notifications were made to the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) and Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), organizations that support the U.S. nuclear industry.

The company says the two-year-plus lead time is needed to make the complex preparations for a potential plant deactivation, including preparing a detailed decommissioning plan and working with the NRC to amend plant licenses.

The total capacity of the nuclear plants to be deactivated is 4,048 megawatts (MW). In 2017, the nuclear units contributed approximately 65 percent of the electricity produced by the FirstEnergy generating fleet.

"The decision to deactivate these facilities is very difficult and in no way a reflection on the dedicated, hard-working employees who operate the plants safely and reliably or on the local communities and union leaders who have advocated passionately on their behalf," said Don Moul, president of FirstEnergy Generation Companies and chief nuclear officer.

"Though the plants have taken aggressive measures to cut costs, the market challenges facing these units are beyond their control."

"We call on elected officials in Ohio and Pennsylvania to consider policy solutions that would recognize the importance of these facilities to the employees and local economies in which they operate, and the unique role they play in providing reliable, zero-emission electric power for consumers in both states. We stand ready to roll-up our sleeves and work with policy makers to find solutions that will make it feasible to continue to operate these plants in the future."