Michael McQueen of Nuclear News explores the financial and political challenges faced by nuclear power companies in Illinois, a state that boasts 11 reactors and saw 54% of its generating capacity in 2019 come from nuclear plants. Exelon's Byron and Dresden power plants are at risk of closing for financial reasons later this year unless lawmakers and Gov. J.B. Pritzker can agree on a solution, jeopardizing 1,500 jobs, $63 million in annual taxes and 4,200 megawatts of clean electricity.
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Entergy is permanently shutting down reactor Unit 3 of its Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, N.Y., today after nearly 60 years of operation, consistent with its 2017 settlement agreement with the state. The shutdown is expected to increase New York's reliance on natural gas plants and take a heavy economic toll on the communities around the plant.
The Southern Company expects to put the third reactor at its Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia into service in December, a month later than originally planned. The company also said Unit 4 is on track to start up between August and November 2022.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is targeting 100% clean energy by 2050 under a proposal that includes roughly $70 million in annual subsidies over the next five years for Exelon Corporation's Dresden and Byron nuclear power plants. Deputy Gov. Christian Mitchell said the $70 million subsidy is the best solution "that doesn't fleece the ratepayer, that only gives Exelon exactly what it is they need and preserves the kind of resources we need to invest in things like putting 1 million new electric vehicles on the road by 2030, doubling our investment in renewable energy."
Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, of the Senate Finance Committee have unveiled a discussion draft of an energy tax proposal that would incentivize technology-wide clean energy innovation. The Energy Sector Innovation Credit Act would provide access to an investment tax credit of up to 40% or production tax credit of 60% for technologies with low market penetration across nuclear, renewables and other energy sources.
A second underground nuclear waste storage tank at the Department of Energy's Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington may be leaking radioactive waste from plutonium production. Department spokesman Geoff Tyree, however, said there are no additional healthy and safety risks since "mitigation actions have been in place for decades to protect workers, the public and the environment."
The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency has released a report that analyzes small modular reactor technologies and development and explores issues on the regulatory, policy, licensing and supply chain fronts. SMRs could achieve commercial viability by the early 2030s, but more collaboration and governmental support is needed "to build a global and robust SMR market," the NEA says in the report.
Svensk Karnbranslehantering AB has received permission from the Swedish municipality of Osthammar to expand its short-lived radioactive waste repository in order to handle decommissioning waste from shuttered nuclear power plants. The project is pending approval from the Swedish government, with construction of the additional storage space expected to take about six years.
Taiwan's Atomic Energy Council said Thursday that the government may help local fishermen pursue compensation from Japan if the planned ocean discharge of nuclear wastewater from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant negatively affects them. Taiwan has not yet developed an ocean monitoring program and is not currently part of the International Atomic Energy Agency expert task force established to oversee Japan's waste disposal.
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