The only nuclear power plant in Massachusetts will close in four years, the operator of the facility said Tuesday.

Entergy Corp. cited market conditions and operating costs in announcing the closing of the Pilgrim Nuclear Generating Station on Cape Cod Bay, 40 miles south of Boston.

{mosads}“The decision to close Pilgrim was incredibly difficult because of the effect on our employees and the communities in which they work and live,” Entergy chief Leo Denault said in a statement.

“Our people at Pilgrim are dedicated and skilled, a wonderful blend of young professionals and seasoned, experienced veterans, who for decades have been generating clean power and contributing millions of dollars of economic activity to the region,” he said. “But market conditions and increased costs led us to reluctantly conclude that we had no option other than to shut down the plant.”

Pilgrim provides about 6 percent of New England’s electricity and 14 percent of Massachusetts’s electricity.

But it accounts for 84 percent of the carbon-free electricity in Massachusetts. Its closure could make it more difficult for the state to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new carbon dioxide limits for the power generating sector.

Pilgrim’s closure will leave the country with only 98 nuclear power reactors.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission downgraded Pilgrim’s safety rating last year, labeling it as one of the least safe nuclear plants in the country, along with a pair of reactors in Arkansas.

Tags Nuclear power
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