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Exelon to close 2 Illinois nuclear power plants in 2021

August 27, 2020 GMT

BYRON, Ill. (AP) — Two nuclear plants in northern Illinois will shut down next year, resulting in the loss of up to 1,400 jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue, the power company said Thursday.

Exelon, the power company that owns Byron Generating Station and the Dresden Generating Station, announced in a statement Thursday that it will close both plants next fall. The Byron station is slated for closure in September 2021 and the Dresden plant in Morris in November 2021.

“Although we know in our heads that shutting down the uneconomic Illinois plants is necessary to preserve even more jobs elsewhere, our hearts ache today for the thousands of talented women and men that have served Illinois families for more than a generation and will lose their jobs because of poorly conceived energy policies,” Christopher Crane, president and CEO of Exelon, said in a news release.

In addition to employing more than 1,500 people full time, the two plants also generate millions of dollars in taxes and also make charitable contributions to the two communities, the Rockford Register Star reported.

In Byron, Exelon pays $38 million a year in property taxes, according to Ogle County tax records. The station also provides more than $300,000 to local charities each year, the company said.

Overall, nuclear power stations have been struggling to compete with the cheap power produced from shale gas, which is often extracted through hydraulic fracking.

Exelon is expected to save $50 million by scaling back the refueling outages scheduled for this fall at both stations. That will also result in the elimination of up to 1,400 of the more than 2,000 mainly union jobs typically associated with the refueling.