The small Beaver County town of Shippingport took its place in history in 1957 with the activation of the first commercial nuclear generator. It attracted curiosity seekers, and created tension among people who feared a leak in the reactor chamber.
It also created thousands of jobs and a great deal of tax revenue for the Beaver Valley.
A small slice of history could come to an end in 2021, as FirstEnergy Corp. announced it will be getting out of the nuclear power business. FirstEnergy announced plans to deactivate its power plant in Shippingport, along with two stations it owns in Ohio. The company plans to close the Davis-Beese nuclear plant near Toledo in 2021 and the Perry, Ohio and Shippingport plants in 2021.
Loss of 1,000 Jobs
The closing of the Beaver County plant would be a devastating blow, as 1,000 employees would lose their jobs. The plant also provided an estimated $4 million a year in taxes. Closing all three plants will cost 2,300 jobs.
FirstEnergy Solutions said the plants will continue normal operation “as FES seeks legislative policy solutions as an alternative to deactivation or sale.”
President of FirstEnergy Solutions, Don Moul, urged Pennsylvania and Ohio regulators to "consider policy solutions that would recognize the importance of these facilities to the employees and local economies in which they operate."
FirstEnergy Solutions has a $100 million debt payment due in the first week of April, prompting speculation that it would file bankruptcy and seek restructuring.
Their closing follows in the footsteps of the announced deactivation of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant near Harrisburg. Three Mile Island was the scene of the country's most significant nuclear reactor accident in 1979.
The extended time before the plant closing is needed for the preparation of the complicated deactivation process.