Wednesday, January 14, 2015

growing threat of nuclear retirement parties in northeastern U.S.

New York’s apparent lack of interest in keeping its nuclear plants operating is ironic in that observers have noted that closure of some or all of these plants would send the state’s carbon dioxide emissions skyrocketing, upsetting the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative market and likely making the state’s CO2 reduction goals unattainable.
Ginna (picture from Democrat and Chronicle)
They wont' care.

An informative article from Power magazine on nuclear generation units - tweeted with the teaser, "The nuclear renaissance has turned into a nuclear retirement party":

U.S. Faces Wave of Premature Nuclear Retirements | POWER Magazine:
The nuclear renaissance has turned into a nuclear retirement party.
As recently as 2012, the U.S. had 104 operating nuclear reactors. With the retirement of Entergy’s Vermont Yankee plant at the end of December, that number has now fallen under 100 for the first time since the 1970s.
Yet as rapid as that pullback has been, the U.S. fleet may not be finished contracting. As many as 10 to 15 additional reactors are at risk of closure—not because they have reached their end-of-life but because of local political opposition, an inability to compete in an electricity market that is vastly changed from what existed when these plants were first conceived, or both.
Following is a state-by-state review of at-risk plants.
Please read the entire article at POWER Magazine

Sadly many of the units listed by Power magazine are hampered by market prices lowered, in part, by the dumping of power out of my province of Ontario. I'd be very surprised if Ginna, near Syracuse in New York, survives the current review with the utility planning for it's closure. I'm less confident that Ontario is harming Michigan's Palisades plant with the cheap exports sent through the intertie to Michigan from southwestern Ontario's heavily subsidized (by Ontario ratepayers) industrial wind turbines; far more confidant this harms David-Besse in Ohio.

Other industrial wind turbines will, I think, claim nuclear plants as victims in Illinois. I'd be surprised if all three at-risk plants in that state closed, but not as surprised as if none did.


I've been reminded of an article by Donald Jones from May 2013 there reminds of the folly of assuming low gas prices live forever - or even for decades:
The present situation in Ontario, and indeed in the United States, is reminiscent of that in the United Kingdom in the 1990s. Cheap natural gas discovered in the North Sea coincident with the development of combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) technology effectively put a stop to any future nuclear build. The “Dash for Gas” had started. The last nuclear plant to be built in the UK was Sizewell B, a Westinghouse design, that started up in 1995 but planned follow-on units were cancelled because low cost natgas...
Continue reading Dash for Gas: Will Ontario repeat the UK’s mistake?

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