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US nuclear industry looks to Trump to change nuclear regulation rules

trump-full-figureTrump and U.S. Nuclear Power Find Common Ground in Jobs Push, Bloomberg  by Jonathan Crawford February 8, 2017, 
  • Early signs suggest Trump is eager to keep reactors open
  • Obama gave a higher priority to wind and solar power: NEI

Nuclear power providers, battered by low prices and competition from cheap natural gas, say they can help President Donald Trump fulfill a campaign promise to put more people to work.

Trump will throw more support behind nuclear power than the Obama administration, which gave a higher priority to wind and solar power, Maria Korsnick, president and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute, said in an interview Tuesday at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. The industry’s goal of expanding the number of U.S. nuclear reactors dovetails into Trump’s campaign promise to add jobs and boost investment in infrastructure.

Profits for U.S. nuclear operators are falling with the collapse of wholesale power prices amid a boom in gas production and rising supplies of renewables. Five nuclear plants will close by 2025, bringing the total number of retirements to 10 since 2009 when the shale boom was just getting underway. ………

Korsnick said. “The previous administration was a bit more in love with renewables.”

Early indications suggest that Trump may be supportive of nuclear power and receptive to the concerns of the industry. In a document obtained by Bloomberg, Trump’s transition team asked the Energy Department how it can help keep nuclear reactors “operating as part of the nation’s infrastructure” and what it could do to prevent the shutdown of plants.

Regulatory Support

The administration can help at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees wholesale U.S. power markets. …….Korsnick is pushing for more states to follow New York and Illinois, which approved measures to prevent the premature closing of money-losing nuclear plants.

In December, Illinois approved annual payouts of about $235 million for 10 years to keep Exelon Corp.’s Quad Cities and Clinton reactors open. In August, New York regulators approved subsidies totaling about $500 million a year for the R.E. Ginna and Nine Mile Point nuclear plants owned by Exelon, and the James A. FitzPatrick plant it is purchasing from Entergy Corp.

“FERC can value what nuclear brings,” Korsnick said. “They can value it in the same way that some of the states have valued it.”……..

February 8, 2017 - Posted by | politics, USA

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