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A Lifeline for New York’s Troubled Nukes?

February 24, 2016

On January 25, 2016, the New York Department of Public Service Staff issued a white paper on the Clean Energy Standard (CES), as part of a REV-related proceeding (Reforming the Energy Vision). As directed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in late 2015, the white paper addresses four policy objectives of the CES, which are to:

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Can Anything Stop the Decline of Nuclear Power in the Merchant Markets?

December 4, 2015

On October 12, Entergy ended speculation surrounding its embattled Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, located in Plymouth, Massachusetts, by announcing its intent to shut down the 43-year-old plant. Though the specific date for shutdown of the 680 MW plant has not been set, the company notified ISO-New England that it would no longer provide capacity into the market effective June 1, 2019. The primary factors cited by Entergy for the closure
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Update on Global Nuclear Capacity Additions

September 21, 2015

As of July 31, 2015, there were 436 nuclear reactors operating in 32 countries with a combined capacity of 379 GWe. In 2014, these reactors produced 11% of all electricity generated globally; down from a peak of 18% in 1996. According to a recent report released by the World Nuclear Association (WNA), global nuclear capacity is expected to rise 45% to 552 GWe by 2035 under its reference scenario. The report also provided lower and upper scenarios for future nuclear capacity. The lower scenario saw global nuclear capacity stagnating until 2030 before declining, with several shutdowns, prior to 2035. The upper scenario saw global nuclear capacity growing to 720 GWe (an 89% increase) by 2035.

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Department of Energy Issues Final Loan Guarantees for Vogtle Units 3 and 4

July 28, 2015

The Vogtle Electric Generating Plant is a two-unit nuclear power plant located in Waynesboro, Georgia, capable of generating 2,430 MW. The plant is operated by Southern Nuclear Operating Company and jointly owned by four entities:

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Germany Takes Another Step toward a Nuclear Free Future

July 1, 2015

Prior to the Fukushima Daiichi event that occurred in March 2011, there were 17 nuclear reactors in Germany that produced approximately 25% of the nation’s electricity. Immediately following the Fukushima Daiichi event, the German government declared a three-month moratorium on nuclear power plants. This moratorium was to allow its Reaktorsicherheitkommission or Reactor Safety Commission (RSK), the German equivalent to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to verify the safety and security of
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Will Recent Policy Changes Accelerate the Advancement of Small Modular Reactor Technology?

April 30, 2015

Though the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has not yet approved any Small Modular Reactor (SMR) designs, there are several companies in the United States that are investing heavily in SMR technology. NuScale Power LLC (owned by Fluor Corp.) is arguably the farthest along in the process of developing the technology and is expected to submit its SMR design to the NRC for approval sometime in 2016. Earlier this year, Westinghouse Electric Company announced that the NRC provided safety approval for the company’s testing approach for its SMR design. According to Jeff Benjamin, Westinghouse senior vice president, New Plants and Major Projects, the NCR approval “… confirms the technical maturity of the Westinghouse SMR concept design.”

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Will Nuclear Power Plants in the United States Experience Life beyond 60?

March 13, 2015

After 40 years in service (the initial license period), nuclear reactors can receive a 20-year operational extension through an established NRC license renewal process. Of the 99 operating reactors in the United States, 75 (representing approximately 69,000 MW of capacity) have been granted the 20-year extension to operate for a total of 60 years, 17 reactors are currently undergoing a license renewal review by the NRC (a process that lasts approximately 30 months), and seven more are expected to file for a license extension in the next few years.

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Vermont Yankee Becomes Latest Casualty in Nuclear Generators’ Struggle against Low-Cost Natural Gas Generation

January 29, 2015

On December 29, 2014, Entergy permanently shut down the reactor at its 604.3 MW Vermont Yankee nuclear generating plant located in Vernon, Vermont. Though the facility was licensed to operate until 2032, it was closed for economic reasons, specifically “… sustained low natural gas prices and wholesale energy prices caused by a transformational shift in supply due to the impacts of shale gas.”

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