A Fitch Ratings report this week said that the electric generation capacity of the nuclear industry in the United States was slipping due to plants closing before their regulatory licensing time was up.
While this is well known in the industry, a notification by Fitch affects investors who may be unaware of the downward trend in capacity that is threatening to accelerate due to increased economic pressures. As such, when investors take note that the industry is suffering, the repercussions could include weaker financing for nuclear advancements, diminished investor support for mergers and acquisitions and harder-to-find backing for major projects.
The premature closing of Vermont Yankee in December was the latest example of a reactor being mothballed before its time was up. The plant was licensed through 2032.
In 2013, there were four reactors shut down and another, Oyster Creek, a 636 MWe generating station in Ocean County, New Jersey, is expected to close at the end of 2019, the report noted.
The other reactors shut down were the Crystal River Unit 3 in Citrus County, Florida, Units 2 and 3 at the San Onofre Power Plant near San Diego, and the Kewaunee Power Station in Carlton, Wisconsin
Fitch said market reforms could help the industry avoid further shutdowns. While some are banking on fees assessed on fossil fuel burning power plants for carbon gas emissions to help level the playing field, a second viable option could be a reward system for power stations that provide a stable, sustainable supply of electricity during times of peak demand.
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America is known for its free economy where market forces determine the value of commodity. But a competition requires a level playing field for which carbon credit must be considered and loaded for each and every form of energy. That is the only way one may be able to save nuclear energy; save expert manpower and well trained technicians. Wake-up America!!
Retire all Pre-generation 3 reactors. Once electricity becomes scarce and EXPENSIVE the public will want them again. It is called tough love, society!