November 8, 2018 / 9:13 PM / 7 months ago

Group warns over a third of U.S. nuclear power plants could retire

    Nov 8 (Reuters) - More than a third of U.S. nuclear power plants could shut for economic
reasons over the next decade, a greater number than most analysts expect, according to a study
released on Thursday by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a public policy group that
focuses on environmental and energy issues.
    While those retirements are not expected to pose a threat to the U.S. electrical grid's
reliability, UCS said, the problem is the potential replacement of their low-carbon electricity
with plants burning fossil fuels, like natural gas and coal.
    Cheap gas from record shale production and rising use of renewable energy has kept electric
prices low in recent years, hurting nuclear and coal operators. 
    Owners of most of the reactors that UCS said were most at risk of shutting were not
immediately available for comment. 
    Michigan energy company DTE Energy Co said its Fermi reactor is licensed to operate
until 2045 and the company intends to continue operating the plant until at least then. Fermi is
one of the units on the UCS list.
    The Trump Administration is pursuing policies to try to keep nuclear and coal plants
operating, and several states have passed laws subsidizing nuclear power plants.

    Over the past five years, seven reactors have shut, with another 10 of the nation's 98
remaining reactors expected to shut in the next five years.

    Nuclear power provides about 20 percent of the nation's electricity.
    The following lists the U.S. nuclear plants that UCS believes are either unprofitable or at
risk. Capacity of the plants is in megawatts. One megawatt can power about 1,000 U.S. homes.
      Plant Name       Units    State   Capacity   Owner/Operator    UCS Assessment
                                          (MW)                        (2018-2022)
 Arkansas Nuclear One     2       AR     1,854    Entergy               Marginal
 Beaver Valley            2       PA     1,867    FirstEnergy           Marginal
 Byron                    2       IL     2,346    Exelon                Marginal
 Callaway                 1       MO     1,236    Ameren              Unprofitable
 Columbia Generating      1       WA     1,210    Energy Northwest    Unprofitable
 Cooper                   1       NE      772     NPPD                Unprofitable
 Davis-Besse              1       OH      908     FirstEnergy         Unprofitable
 Diablo Canyon            2       CA     2,240    PG&E              Firm Retirement
 Dresden                  2       IL     1,805    Exelon                Marginal
 Duane Arnold             1       IA      622     NextEra           Firm Retirement
 Fermi                    1       MI     1,161    DTE                 Unprofitable
 Grand Gulf               1       MS     1,428    Entergy             Unprofitable
 H.B. Robinson            1       SC      797     Duke                Unprofitable
 Indian Point             1       NY     2,071    Entergy           Firm Retirement
 Monticello               1       MN      646     Xcel                Unprofitable
 Palisades                1       MI      820     Entergy           Firm Retirement
 Perry                    1       OH     1,268    FirstEnergy         Unprofitable
 Pilgrim                  1       MA      683     Entergy           Firm Retirement
 Point Beach              2       WI     1,206    NextEra               Marginal
 Prairie Island           2       MN     1,092    Xcel                Unprofitable
 River Bend               1       LA      968     Entergy             Unprofitable
 Sequoyah                 2       TN     2,333    TVA                   Marginal
 Shearon Harris           1       NC      973     Duke                Unprofitable
 Susquehanna Nuclear      2       PA     2,593    Talen                 Marginal
 Three Mile Island        1       PA      827     Exelon              Unprofitable
 V.C. Summer              1       SC      992     SCANA                 Marginal
 Waterford 3              1       LA     1,177    Entergy             Unprofitable
 Wolf Creek               1       KS     1,205    Evergy              Unprofitable
 (Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by David Gregorio)
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