Exelon Exec Reiterates Possibility of Nuclear Plant Closures Absent Market Reforms

Exelon, which operates America's largest fleet of power reactors, continues to make the case that electricity markets and the policies that shape them undervalue nuclear plants' reliability and lack of carbon emissions.

William Von Hoene. Source: ExelonSpeaking to the U.S. Energy Association Wednesday, Chief Strategy Officer William A. Von Hoene Jr. said market-distorting policies may contribute to the early closure of as many as a quarter of U.S. nuclear plants if left unchanged. As an example, he cited market conditions in Illinois, where the utility reportedly told state legislators recently that its Byron, Quad Cities and Clinton plants are at risk of closure. He acknowledged that low natural gas prices and low load growth have been unfavorable for nuclear plants. Nonetheless, he said transmission bottlenecks and public policies like state renewable energy mandates and the federal production tax credit for wind power help push some areas' wholesale electricity prices to levels that make nuclear plants uncompetitive.

He went on to argue that reactor retirements would be harmful to the very environmental goals that renewable energy is meant to address. “We simply cannot achieve our emissions reduction goals without the U.S. nuclear fleet,” said Van Hoene. “The loss of 25 percent of existing nuclear facilities would cut U.S. progress toward achieving its 2020 climate change goals in half. In fact, closing even a few nuclear plants could make achieving state and national carbon reduction goals difficult or impossible.”

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  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    A small fraction only of present federal officers are against nuclear, for reasons not related to logic and economics, but something like a Faith. The nuclear body, far more aware of energy realities, shall openly fight via medias to offset federal underground acts. It is because media have so much pushed renewables and made nuclear "dangerous" that most of very soft politicians (preferring their own re-election to population benefits) have "blown with the wind" while some others, for ideologic reasons extracted from the left, want to destroy part of industry.

    Please show up much more than in the past; In case you lose the media battle (already 90% lost), your nuclear has no future...

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Don't know why we did not think about this years ago! Makes more sence than any thing else.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    The phenomenum is very visible in Germany where, despite early political retirement of 7 out of 22 reactors, the survivor operators are obliged to further close additionnal reactors exactly for same economic reasons as per this paper. Every of them awaits a last minute eye-opening from authorities but as nothing comes, one by one they reluctantly apply for plant closure.

    The irony is that local grid operators (Bavaria) presently reject closure requests for grid stability reasons and  perform direct nuclear subsidy to maintain plants available for emergency supply, the time that new coal plants under construction are completed (2016).

    You should make media propagate this.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Perhaps the Nuclear Industry could educate the public via television commercials like the Hydrofracking interest groups do.