US nuclear utility Exelon has taken the next step to keep an embattled plant operating.
In February 2014, management of Constellation Energy Nuclear Group, now a subsidiary of Exelon, filed a request with the New York Independent System Operator (NY ISO) to study the impact of the Ginna plant on electric system reliability.
The NY ISO's independent analysis found in May that Ginna is needed to maintain system reliability. Failing a confirmed reliability need and an acceptable reliability support service agreement, Exelon said that it would recommend closing the plant, although a decision to close Ginna requires the unanimous approval of the CENG board. Exelon said that in light of the NY ISO reliability study, the CENG board has not been presented with a formal recommendation.
The petition is the next step in the process to ensure that Ginna continues to operate, Exelon said. If the petition is approved by the NY Public Service Commission, CENG management would be ordered to negotiate with Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E) on the terms of an agreement to support continued operation. Terms of the reliability agreement are expected to be filed with the NYPSC by the end of 2014 for approval.
"It is no secret that our plant, like others in the region, faces financial challenges. But this filing is actually good news for the hundreds of hardworking men and women that work at the plant and for the community that we serve because it is an encouraging step towards continuing to operate the plant for the foreseeable future," said Joe Pacher, site vice president of the Ginna Nuclear Power Plant. "Ginna brings enormous reliability, employment, tax and environmental benefits to the Rochester region and New York State.
"Beyond all of these benefits, the Clean Power Plan recently proposed by the United States EPA emphasizes how important it is to keep nuclear plants operating to combat the dangerous effects of climate change. Over the longer term, we look forward to working with the NYPSC, customers and key stakeholders to develop solutions that will keep reliable clean energy in service for the benefit of New York families and businesses."