| July 31
July 31 Exelon Corp, the biggest nuclear
power operator in the United States, said Wednesday that weak
prices for power and for natural gas have pushed it to reduce
operating and maintenance costs but the company is not yet
giving up on any of its reactors.
U.S. generating companies so far in 2013 have retired four
reactors, the most in any year, due to weak power market
conditions or because the plants were too costly to repair.
"We have worked hard over the last couple of years to
continue to focus on cost to maintain some of the viability of
the smaller units," Exelon CEO Christopher Crane told analysts
in a conference call following release of the company's second
"There is nothing on the chopping block right now. It is
constant work to look at cost. It is constant work to look at
regulatory structure and if it does not improve we will be
talking more about those facilities."
Crane mentioned two of the company's smaller reactors - the
1,065-megawatt Clinton in Illinois and the 581-MW Ginna in New
Clinton employees have come up with a "good plan" to move
the plant to an annual refueling and maintenance outage cycle
instead of the current biennial cycle, he said.
That new outage cycle would help keep Clinton "viable for
years to come as the market recovers," he said.
Clinton is next expected to shut for refueling and
maintenance in the autumn of 2013, according to Reuters data.
"It's a well run plant that last year had a zero-forced loss
rate, so we are not ready to give up on it, we will continue to
optimize its cost structure, maintaining it is safe but also
neutral on the balance sheet," Crane said.
As for Ginna, Crane said bringing the small reactor "into
the Exelon cost structure" will "give us time" to look at the
policies evolving in New York around the power capacity market
Exelon and French power company Electricite de France SA
, the co-owners of Constellation Energy Nuclear Group,
which operates Ginna, this week said Exelon Generation will take
over operation of Constellation's five reactors over the next
Constellation operates two reactors at the 1,595-MW Nine
Mile plant in New York, two reactors at the 1,753-MW Calvert
Cliffs plant in Maryland and Ginna.
After integrating the Constellation plants, Exelon said it
will operate 22 reactors at 13 locations in Illinois,
Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Maryland with a total
generating capacity of 19,165 MW and more than 11,000 workers.
One megawatt can power about 1,000 homes.
For a factbox on U.S. nuclear power reactors that have been