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By Paul J. Gough

U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb urged U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry to keep the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station online in a letter released Wednesday.

First Energy Solutions, a division of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), announced earlier this year it was planning to deactivate Beaver Valley by 2021 along with two other nuclear power plants it owns in Ohio. It comes at a time when the nuclear and coal industries are under intense competition in the electrical generation market from both renewables and natural gas.

Lamb, R-18th District, wants what he called “a workable, long-term solution.”He had also urged action in a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that would not exclude nuclear power plants in market reforms.

“Nuclear plants are part of the backbone of our electric grid,” Lamb said in a statement Wednesday. “Every day, thousands of hardworking people make sure the power is there when we need it.”

Lamb had visited the Shippingport plant a few weeks ago.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-14th District — who Lamb will likely challenge in a reformed 17th District — joined a bipartisan group of legislators in a letter to Perry and President Donald J. Trump urging them to invoke a little-used emergency powers provision to help the Beaver Valley plant.