Trump Directs DOE To Rescue Struggling Nuclear Plants

President Donald Trump stepped into the debate on securing the national electricity resources by directing grid operators to purchase power from economically troubled nuclear power and coal-fired power plants.

Davis-Besse NPPOn Friday, Trump instructed the Department of Energy to take “immediate steps” to intervene on behalf of the economically troubled plants that the nation relies on, according to a recently circulated administrative memo, because they produce power in a fashion that relies on a “fuel-secure” systems. As opposed to solar power, for example, in which the source of the power is intermittent, coal and nuclear power plants have fuel on hand that means in the event of a national disaster or a international attack, they can keep running.

Since the draft memo became public almost two weeks ago, it has been known that the Energy Department was working on a solution for troubled power plants. Friday was the first time the president was directly attached to the directive and the first time the time schedule, i.e. “immediate steps” has been made know.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that the president's directive was intended to “stop the loss of these resources.”

The draft memo stated the federal government should “stop the further premature retirements of fue-secure generation,” the Associated Press reported.

While the initiative looks promising for the nuclear power industry, the proposal to use a law designed to temporarily help producers during national emergencies, such as war or national disasters, is being criticized by many corners, including environmental groups, at least one of which, has said a lawsuit would be filed to prevent the initiative from going forward. The law would allow power plants to sidestep some environmental laws due to the expenses involved. In the draft memo, the initiative, meanwhile, calls for a two-year imperative on grid operators that would allow the Department of Energy to study the issue in depth.

Opposition also comes from the solar, wind and oil industries, which are rivals of coal and nuclear generators.

There could also be a backlash from orthodox Republicans who are dedicated to less government intervention in the marketplace, not more.

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  • Anonymous

    All these opponents that want to see nuclear gone will be sorry the day they flip the switch and the lights do not come on!!  I am in South Africa right now and it is their winter.  They live with DAILY warnings of rolling blackouts BECAUSE their energy has almost NO extra capacity to absorb sudden plant shutdowns.

    By the way, if anyone can let the American SMR people know, S.A. would be a great place to build a bunch of them as a world wide demo project.