[UPDATED] A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance says that 24 out of 60 nuclear power plants in the United States will be unable to cover operating costs over the next three years and that more plants are likely to close.
According to Power Magazine, which reported on the BNEF study, the plants in financial trouble have an aggregate generating capacity of 32.5 GW, representing close to a third of the nation's nuclear power industry capacity at the present time. The U.S. Energy Information Administration lists the total capacity of the U.S. nuclear power fleet at slightly over 100 GW.
While various states, including New York and New Jersey, are developing plans to intervene financially to help struggling nuclear power plants, the figures per state amount to hundreds of millions of dollars per year in potential interventions. Nicholas Steckler and Chris Gadomski, co-authors of the report, put the figure at $1.3 billion annually to keep all the viable nuclear power plants operating.
The undermining influence on prices of a natural gas market glut is the biggest culprit contributing to the financial headwinds of the nuclear power industry. In a lesser degree, wind power and other renewable power options are also to blame, given the political popularity of renewable sources. In February, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in a report that renewable power had reached 18 percent of the U.S. electricity generation capacity, spurred, in part, by an increase in hyrdopower investments in the west. Nuclear power recently contributed about 20 percent, but that figure is sliding as operating facilities continue to shutter plants.
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...Seven (7) TRILLION $$'s went to the middle east......1.6 Bill is a drop in the bucket, and at least you would get something for it.....JB