This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."
|Type||Public (NYSE: EXC)|
|Headquarters||10 South Dearborn St., 48th Floor
Chicago, IL 60603
|Area served||IL, PA|
|Key people||John W. Rowe, CEO|
|Industry||Electric Producer, Distributor, and Utility|
|Revenue||$18.92 billion (2007)|
|Net income||▲ $2.74 billion (2007)|
Exelon Power Team
Exelon Corporation is an electricity generating and distributing company headquartered in Chicago. It was created in October 2000, by the merger of PECO Energy Company and Unicom, of Philadelphia and Chicago respectively (Unicom was the owner of Commonwealth Edison). Exelon has 5.2 million electricity customers and, in the Philadelphia suburbs, 460,000 natural gas customers.
In June, 2005 Exelon had full or majority ownership of 19 nuclear reactors in 11 nuclear power plants.
On June 30, 2005, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the merger of Exelon and Public Service Enterprise Group, a New Jersey utility. Under this merger, Exelon would have become the largest utility in the United States. The two companies later broke off the agreement due to pressure put on the NJ Board of Public Utilities by public interest groups, including New Jersey Citizen Action.The merger sat pending in front of the NJBPU for nineteen months before Exelon concluded that they were fighting a losing battle.
A shareholder resolution filed by one Exelon shareholder for the Company's 2008 annual meeting criticizes executive pay levels at the Company.
- 1 Exelon leaves Chamber of Commerce over climate policy
- 2 Power portfolio
- 3 Existing coal-fired power plants
- 4 Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Exelon and PSEG coal plants
- 5 Exelon Nuclear
- 6 Environmental record
- 7 Coal lobbying
- 8 Donations to, and support from, Barack Obama
- 9 Citizen activism
- 10 Articles and resources
Exelon leaves Chamber of Commerce over climate policy
In September 2009, Exelon announced it was quitting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of the lobbying organization's opposition to climate legislation. Explaining the company's views, CEO John W. Rowe said, "Putting a price on carbon is essential, because it will force us to do the cheapest things, like energy efficiency, first." Exelon is the third energy company to leave the Chamber, after PG&E and PNM Resources.
Out of its total 26,877 MW of electric generating capacity in 2005 (2.52% of the U.S. total), Exelon produces 66.7% from nuclear, 14.8% from natural gas, 9.5% from oil, 4.7% from hydroelectricity, 3.3% from coal, 0.6% from wind, and 0.2% from biomass. Exelon owns power plants in Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, and West Virginia.
Existing coal-fired power plants
|Plant Name||State||County||Year(s) Built||Capacity||2007 CO2 Emissions||2006 SO2 Emissions|
|Eddystone||PA||Delaware||1960||707 MW||4,128,000 tons||6,454 tons|
|Cromby||PA||Chester||1954||188 MW||1,129,000 tons||5,588 tons|
In 2006, Exelon's 2 coal-fired power plants emitted 5.2 million tons of CO2 and 12,000 tons of SO2.
Exelon announces plan to shut coal plants in Pennsylvania
On December 2, 2009, Exelon announced that it would retire Cromby Generating Station and two units at Eddystone Generating Station in 2011. The closures include 144 MW of coal-fired power at Cromby and another 588 MW at Eddystone. Eddystone will continue to operate 820 MW of natural gas- and oil-fired generation. Exelon senior vice president Doyle Beneby said the retirements were due to "decreased power demand, over supply of natural gas and increasing operating costs," adding that, "these aging units are no longer efficient enough to compete with newer resources." The announcement comes just one day after Progress Energy said it would shut 11 aging coal-fired power units totaling almost 1,500 MW in North Carolina.
Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Exelon and PSEG coal plants
In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants. Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.
Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Exelon and PSEG coal plants
|Type of Impact||Annual Incidence||Valuation|
|Heart attacks||165||$18.0 million|
|Asthma attacks||1,522||$79.1 thousand|
|Chronic bronchitis||58||$25.4 million|
|Asthma ER visits||61||$22.6 thousand|
|Hospital admissions||75||$1.73 million|
Source: "Health Impacts - annual - of Existing Plants," Clean Air Task Force Excel worksheet, available under "Data Annex" at "Death and Disease from Power Plants," Clean Air Task Force. Note: This data includes the following plants owned by Exelon and subsidiary Public Service Enterprise Group: Hudson, Mercer, Bridgeport, Eddystone, Cromby, and the Bergen Station.
Exelon Nuclear has its headquarters in Warrenville, Illinois and is a business unit of Exelon Coroporation. It operates the largest nuclear fleet in the nation and the third largest in the world. Exelon's ten stations -- with 17 reactors -- represent approximately 20 percent of the U.S. nuclear industry's power capacity. The stations include: Braidwood Generating Station, Byron Generation Station, Clinton Power Station, Dresden Generating Station, LaSalle County Generating Station, Limerick Generating STation, Oyster Creek Generating Station, Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Quad Cities Generating Station, Three Mile Island Unit-1, Zion Generating Station.
Exelon supports the belief that nuclear power has an imporant role in the future energy supply and has stated that "20 to 30 new nuclear plants will be needed by 2030 in order to address climate change and enhance energy security."
Exelon intends to file a combined construction and operating license for a single unit in Texas by the end of 2008.
Exelon received approval in March for an early site permit at its Clinton Station in DeWitt County, Illinois -- the first permit of its kind granted in the industry. The permit is valid for up to 20 years.
Peach Bottom's sleeping guards
In 2007, whistleblower Kerry Beal told the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that guards at the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station were sleeping on the job. He had previously brought his concerns to a plant supervisor, but was told to "be a team player." 
Initially, the NRC "told the plant's owner to investigate even though the accusation involved company managers." The NRC's Inspector General later ruled that asking the plant's owner, Exelon, and its security provider, Wackenhut, to investigate themselves was a violation of NRC policies. Not surprisingly, neither Exelon nor Wackenhut "were unable to substantiate the claim. But, months later, 10 security officers were videotaped sleeping on duty." The NRC then launched its own investigation and confirmed the charges, leading Wackenhut to fire the guards and Exelon to fire Wackenhut. 
Relicensing Three Mile Island
To overcome local opposition to the re-licensing of the Three Mile Island's unit 1 reactor, Exelon agreed "to pay for an expanded community radiation monitoring system, increase charitable donations to community groups and continue its policy of not storing waste from other nuclear plants," reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "The company also agreed not to oppose the decommissioning of the TMI Unit 2 reactor, destroyed in the 1979 accident when equipment malfunction and operator error led to a partial meltdown of the reactor core and an air release of radioactive material." 
In 2005 Exelon was required to pay $602,000 for exceeding the permitted sulfur dioxide emission limit from April through October 2004 at Cromby Generating Station in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
According to lobbying disclosure forms, Exelon $1.2 million from April to June 2008, "to lobby on tax credits for renewable energy sources," as well as "on telecommunications issues, trade cases involving uranium enrichment, energy policy, the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste disposal project, energy and water appropriations, and climate change." In addition to Congress, Exelon lobbied the Office of Management and Budget, the departments of Energy, Justice and Homeland Security, the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Government Accountability Office, Federal Communications Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission. 
Dynergy is a member of the American Coal Ash Association (ACAA), an umbrella lobbying group for all coal ash interests that includes major coal burners Duke Energy, Southern Company and American Electric Power as well as dozens of other companies. The group argues that the so-called "beneficial-use industry" would be eliminated if a "hazardous" designation was given for coal ash waste.
Donations to, and support from, Barack Obama
An October, 2006 issue of Harper's magazine reported that Barack Obama had accepted $70,000 in donations from Exelon, "a leading nuclear-plant operator based in Illinois," since 2004. The article said,
At a 2005 hearing at the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, of which Obama is a member, the senator —- echoing the nuclear industry's current campaign to promotes nuclear energy as “green” —- said that since Congress was debating “policies to address air quality and the deleterious effects of carbon emissions on the global ecosystem, it is reasonable—and realistic—for nuclear power to remain on the table for consideration.”
NAACP Clearing the Air Road Tour - April 2010
In April 2010, Jacqui Patterson of the NAACP Climate Justice Initiative interviewed community members in Bridgeport. Jacqui wrote the following account of the impacts of the Bridgeport Harbor Station:
- Bridgeport is the second-poorest city in Connecticut after Hartford, with a per capita income just over half of the state average. The plant is wedged between Bridgeport’s Downtown and South End neighborhoods, which are among the city’s poorest. The average income of people who live within one mile of the plant is just $11,400, and over 87% of the plant’s neighbors are people of color. Six schools are within a mile of the plant, as is the University of Bridgeport (the tenth-most racially diverse university in the country, with over 60% students of color).
- The stories in Bridgeport solidified a pattern that has been consistent throughout the trip including high rates of respiratory illnesses, nuisance coal ash, and disproportionate exposure by low income communities of color.
- I had the pleasure of meeting with Adrienne, who is administering a training program for green jobs, Audrey whose job in the public health department has and her lifelong residency in Bridgeport have shown the impact of the coal plant on the community, and Craig who has spent the majority of his 59 years in Bridgeport and was able to provide a tour of the neighborhood surrounding the plant.
- As we started our tour at the plant, we weren’t able to begin our filming in front of the plant because we were run off by security who stated that filming in front of the plant was a felony offense by order of the department of Homeland Security! During the tour you’ll see on the footage several times where I filmed the plant from afar, including a bit where I filmed the largest mountain of coal I’ve seen yet in all my visits to coal plants. And it is completely uncovered, which is why even now I have coal dust on my car. Craig, who narrated our tour, omitted any indication of filming of the plant when I was doing it, seemingly out of fear that he might be implicated by my lawlessness so watch for the coal mountain because it won’t be mentioned!
- Adrienne shared some history of the South End community, where the plant is located, and talked about concerns that have been expressed by residents bout coal soot covering their cars, not being able to open their windows, and not being able to hang out laundry because of the coal ash.
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- John W. Rowe
- Pete V. Domenici
- World Business Council for Sustainable Development
- Diermeier Consulting
- Clean and Safe Energy Coalition
- Barack Obama/Campaign Financing
- New Jersey Affordable, Clean, Reliable Energy Coalition
- Edward H. Salmon
- Maury Donahue
- Expected New Nuclear Power Plant Applications in the U.S.
- NRG Energy
- NuStart Energy Development
- Nuclear Energy Institute Personnel
- Thomas J. Stipanowich
- Richard H. Glanton
- Pennsylvania and coal
- United States and coal
- Global warming
- Exelon Corp., BusinessWeek Company Insight Center, accessed July 2008.
- Press Releases, PSEG website.
- NJCA in the News, New Jersey Citizen Action website.
- Press Releases, PSEG website.
- "Out the Door: Exelon Leaves Chamber of Commerce over Climate Policy,"] Wall Street Journal, September 28, 2009.
- Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2005, Energy Information Administration, accessed April 2008.
- Environmental Integrity Project, Dirty Kilowatts: America’s Most Polluting Power Plants, July 2007.
- Dig Deeper, Carbon Monitoring for Action database, accessed June 2008.
- "Exelon to retire 933 MW of capacity in 2011," Power Engineering, December 2, 2009.
- Progress Energy
- "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
- "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
- Garry Lenton, "NRC broke rules in plant inquiry, report says," The Patriot-News (Pennsylvania), September 9, 2008.
- Don Hopey, "Nuclear reactor owners rush to extend licenses," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 29, 2008.
- AmeriScan: June 30, 2005
- "Exelon spent $1.2M lobbying government in 2Q," Associated Press, September 24, 2008.
- Coal-Fired Utilities to American Public: Kiss my Ash DeSmogBlog.com & PolluterWatch, October 27, 2010.
- Ken Silverstein A Bit More on Barack Washington Babylon, October 26, 2006
- "Day IX Clearing the Air Road Tour - Bridgeport, CT - Bridgeport Harbor Generating Station," NAACP Climate Justice Initiative, April 24, 2010
- Garry Lenton, "90% back plant relicensing in Exelon-sponsored survey," The Patriot-News (Pennsylvania), September 9, 2008.
- Garry Lenton, "NRC broke rules in plant inquiry, report says," The Patriot-News (Pennsylvania), September 9, 2008.
- Charles Stanley, "Exelon plans outdoor storage of nuclear waste," The Times (Ottawa, Illinois), September 18, 2008.
- Editorial, "TMI poll irrelevant: Safety is paramount in deciding whether the nuke plant should run for 20 more years," York Daily Record / Sunday News (Pennsylvania), September 17, 2008.
- Jenny Weil, "Entergy seeks license for new nuclear power plant in Louisiana," Platts, September 25, 2008.
- "Exelon files loan guarantee application for Texas units," Platts, September 26, 2008.
- Edwin Chan, "NRG blasts rival Exelon's hostile bid again," Reuters, March 12, 2009.