President Donald Trump’s comment about helping coal and nuclear power plants stay open may or may not affect First Energy Solutions’ announced intentions to shut down its nuclear facilities. And federal regulators say the prospect that something may change future decisions about the fate of the plants will not affect their oversight.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Chief of Projects for the region that includes First Energy Solutions is Billy Dickson. He says the opportunity to reevaluate a shutdown decision is usually open to an operator for two years, but the regulatory oversight process is built to accommodate the uncertainty that implies. “Since we initially learned that the station may be deactivating we’ve taken the time to develop a plan for how we’re going to focus on operators, maintenance, and making sure the licensees are going to follow rules and regulations; despite whatever money issues there may be.”
Dickson says the point-of-no-return on closing comes once planning is done and approved and the operator shuts down the reactor and removes the nuclear fuel