Exelon submits decommissioning plans for Byron, Dresden nuclear plants

WARRENVILLE – The owner of the Byron and Dresden nuclear plants said it was submitting decommissioning reports with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Exelon Generation said in a news release that the filings are among the final steps in retiring the plants. Exelon said the energy producers face revenue shortfalls in the hundreds of millions of dollars because of low energy prices. Exelon also said coal-driven power plants have an unfair competitive advantage because of market policies.

Lawmakers were unable to complete passage of the overhaul energy bill in June. One of the provisions under debate are subsidies to nuclear plants owned by Exelon.

Exelon, in its release on Wednesday, said that if lawmakers cannot find a solution, the same market inequalities would force the company to close facilities at Braidwood and La Salle in a few years.

Exelon is planning to issue job reduction notices.

“With no signs of a breakthrough on clean energy legislation in Springfield, we have no choice but to take these final steps in preparation for shutting down the plants,” Exelon Generation Chief Nuclear Officer Dave Rhoades said.

Because of the news, the Oregon Area Chamber of Commerce explained in a news release to concerned residents that this was a procedural move required by regulators. But the Chamber did lay out the economic implications of a shutdown. The loss of 717 jobs means $97.5 million in lost wages. Every 100 jobs supports another 221 jobs in other industries.