Exelon's Oyster Creek plant shut down in 2019.

A cooling tower at the Isar 1 and 2 nuclear power plant is pictured at dusk near Landshut, Germany.

TEXT OF STORY

JEREMY HOBSON: Well the oldest nuclear power plant in the United States will shut down a decade early. Exelon's Oyster Creek plant in New Jersey will now close in 2019.

As Sarah Gardner reports from the Marketplace Sustainablity Desk, this is a reaction to new environmental regulations.


SARAH GARDNER: New Jersey regulators wanted Exelon to build expensive new cooling towers at the 45-year-old plant. That way the facility wouldn't need to draw cold water from the ocean and kill off billions of shrimp and other marine life. But Exelon said the towers would cost more than the aging plant was worth and decided it was wiser to fold rather than fight. In exchange for retiring the plant a decade early, regulators dropped demands for the new towers. Plant spokesman David Benson.

DAVID BENSON: It does give the state a lot of lead in time to look at where they're going to replace the generation. Six percent of New Jersey's energy production is not insignificant.

The EPA is also proposing tougher water cooling standards for utilities and not just for nuclear plants. Morningstar analyst Travis Miller.

TRAVIS MILLER: The impacts could range from nuclear plants closing to coal plants closing to gas plants having to be retrofitted.

But Miller says nuclear plants have higher operating and overhead costs than other kinds of power plants.

I'm Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

About the author

Sarah Gardner is a reporter on the Marketplace sustainability desk covering sustainability news spots and features.

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