Entergy Corporation wants out of the merchant nuclear generator business. Fine. But that does not mean Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station should close by the announced 2019 date. Entergy Corp. says it will stop producing power at the Pilgrim Station on May 31, 2019. Let's hope a buyer steps up and keeps this valuable asset running.
The Pilgrim nuclear plant was built in 1972 by what was then Boston Edison. It is roughly six miles south of Plymouth Rock and downtown Plymouth at the edge of Cape Cod Bay. It can produce 6.8 million watts of electricity, enough to meet the needs of 600,000 homes.
Although some minor violations have been found by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), that does not mean the plant isn't safe for operation.
Entergy announced last April that is would refuel the Pilgrim reactor this spring. The common industry practice is to replace one-third of a reactor's nuclear fuel every two years, and that usually costs roughly $40 million. This should be a good sign for a prospective buyer. Entergy has an obligation to supply electricity to the regional power grid through May 2019 and a new owner could continue the safe operation of this facility.