DOE Summit Aims to Preserve US Nuclear Reactors

  • Three panels to discuss policy solutions for federal, state leaders
  • Industry represented by NEI’s Fertel, PSEG’s Levis, Entergy’s Mohl, Exelon’s Dominguez
  • DOE report will propose ways to retain zero-carbon nuclear

On May 19 the U.S. Department of Energy will sponsor a summit of key decision-makers to highlight the need to keep the nation’s nuclear power plants operational.

The meeting of industry experts, legislators, administration officials and other stakeholders will discuss the issues facing at-risk nuclear power plants and the unintended consequences that arise from early plant retirements.

The main objective of the summit is to identify near-term policy solutions that could address these concerns at the federal and state level.

The summit also will address technical options utilities are implementing to enhance operating nuclear plants’ economic competitiveness as part of the Delivering the Nuclear Promise initiative.

“There is an urgent need to develop policies that will prevent additional, premature nuclear power plant closures,” NEI Senior Director of Business Policy Matt Crozat says. “Preserving existing nuclear power plants is imperative to any credible plan to reduce carbon emissions and necessary to preserve jobs in their host communities.”

Since 2012, eight U.S. reactors have closed, or announced their intent to close, and that list could expand. If these plants were to continue operation they would avoid between 35 million and 50 million tons of carbon emissions annually, producing as much clean electricity as all of the renewables deployed by the power sector over the past three years, Crozat notes.

“When existing nuclear power plants shut down, carbon reduction goals, electric system reliability and local jobs all suffer—sometimes dramatically,” Crozat says.

“Policymakers and industry employees at all levels must work together decisively and promptly to preserve these important parts of America’s electricity infrastructure.”

This is the second summit held by the Obama administration to highlight the vital role that nuclear energy needs to play in any credible effort to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector and to assure a reliable supply of zero-emission electricity. A November 2015 White House summit focused on advanced nuclear technologies for the future, this summit will concentrate on existing U.S. reactors.

The summit comes on the heels of a May 6 announcement by Exelon that it will move forward with the early retirements of its Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear power plants in Illinois if the state does not pass adequate legislation recognizing those facilities’ emissions-free value.

Meanwhile in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has asked the state’s Public Service Commission to develop a Clean Energy Standard that could keep some of the state’s nuclear plants open with “zero-emission credits” to help the state meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals.

However, Cuomo has not backed off of his strident efforts to shut down the 2200 MW Indian Point nuclear power station location on the Hudson river north of New York City.

Agenda 

The May 19 summit will consist of three panels that will identify actions that various stakeholders have taken and can take to improve the economics of existing nuclear power plants.

The event will include an opening keynote from Secretary Moniz and include a series of talks by Congressional Members and key stakeholders. Panels will identify actions that various stakeholders have taken and can take to improve the economics of the existing fleet.

• Panel 1 – What Industry Can Do
• Panel 2 – What States Can Do
• Panel 3 – What Congress, FERC, and Regional Markets Can Do

  • DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz will deliver the keynote address.
  • Speakers from industry will include NEI President and Chief Executive Officer Marvin Fertel, PSEG Power President and CEO William Levis, Entergy Wholesale Commodities President Bill Mohl and Joe Dominguez, Exelon Corp.’s executive vice president of governmental and regulatory affairs and public policy.
  • Other speakers include Sens. Michael Crapo (R-Idaho) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.).

A webcast link will be available on DOE’s website.  Check there for login details.

ANS President to Lead Discussion About What States Can Do at DOE Nuclear Plant Economics Summit May 19

American Nuclear Society President Eugene S. Grecheck is among key nuclear leaders invited to participate in the Department of Energy (DOE) Summit on Improving the Economics of America’s Nuclear Power Plants on May 19 in Washington, D.C.

He will be leading a panel on “What States Can Do,” and will be presenting the Nuclear in the States Toolkit developed by the ANS Special Committee on Nuclear in the States.

DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz and members of Congress will be participating in the forum with key nuclear decision makers and stakeholders to discuss the economic challenges facing some nuclear power plants and the consequences that could arise from early plant retirements.

More information about the Summit is available at on the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) website. A live webinar will be available for viewing (check back here for a link at a later date).

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