The Millstone nuclear generating plant in the state of Connecticut is potentially “viable” from an economic point of view through 2035, two state agencies reported, but it would, among other negative factors, cost $5.5 billion to replace the two units of the plant with other low-carbon power sources.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy in July 2017 ordered the state's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to study the economic potential of the plant, given the owner's indications that the plant would likely need economic assistance to survive. The plant, which is owned by Dominion, includes a Combustion Engineering Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) and a Four-loop Westinghouse designed PWR. The license for Unit 2 is set to expire in July 2035, while Unit 3's license will expire in November 2045.
The plant was evaluated on behalf of DEEP and PURA by Levitan & Associates, a Boston-based law firm, which conducted its investigation without direct help from Dominion, which elected to withhold its financial records from the auditors.
As such, the report says that “a few key cost inputs significantly impact” the report's conclusions, which means changes in the financial picture, due to unforeseen costs or changes in pricing trends could turn the estimated viability towards a downward trajectory. The report also said that the state of Connecticut could survive the shutdown if Millstone is closed, but that the greater New England region would have to replace capacity with new production means. If Millstone closes, carbon emissions are likely to increase in the region by 25 percent, the report concludes.
Grid reliability and fuel security – given the decrease in fuel diversity – would also suffer with a loss of the plant.
“A few key cost inputs significantly impact this result and further verified, audited financial documents from Dominion could demonstrate that the Millstone units are at risk,” the agencies said. “Moreover, the Millstone units are critical to both Connecticut and the New England Region, in terms of fuel security and meeting statutory greenhouse gas reduction targets.”
Preliminary findings for this report were released in December 2017. The final report is expected to be completed in March.
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Nope. This and more closings are on the horizon in the next few years. Pretty easy to replace capacity now with natural gas. Things will shake out over the next 10 to 20 years during which many Units will have to close. Meanwhile the price of gas and the price of CO2 will slowly creep back into the equation making Nuclear moderately competitive in the long run. "Grid Stability" is no match for plain cheap power. Too bad.