The owners of General Public Utilities Corp. are planning either to sell or shut down Oyster Creek nuclear plant, because they claim the plant's above-market electric prices will not be competitive in an open market. The selling price would be set around $700 million.
According to GPU President and COO Fred D. Hafer, the electric generated at Oyster Creek costs the utility about 1 cent to 1.5 cents more per kilowatt-hour than the current market price for energy. "While we can't predict with certainty exactly what the future prices for energy will be, continuing to operate the plant until 2009 may not be in the best interest of our New Jersey customers or our shareholders," Hafer said.
Oyster Creek is a 619-MW, boiling-water reactor owned by GPU subsidiary Jersey Central Power & Light Co. It began commercial operation in 1969 and is licensed until 2009. Decommissioning would take several years and cost $400 million.
In response to inquiries from parties that have expressed an interest in Oyster Creek, GPU announced that it would consider selling its Three Mile Island nuclear plant. However, unlike Oyster Creek, early retirement of Three Mile Island Unit 1 is not being considered because of its low operating costs.
According to Dennis Baldassari, president of GPU Energy, the company has been reviewing its generation assets in response to increasingly competitive markets. He pointed out that last year, GPU closed its 72 MW Gilbert Unit 3 and its 58 MW Werner Unit 4 fossil-fueled units, because its costs were above the market price for energy. t