Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Domino Effect

Dominion's domino may be but the first to fall: Kewaunee "canary in the coal mine" may signal number of reactor closures to come
January 10, 2013
In late October, 2012, Dominion Nuclear announced it would close its Kewaunee atomic reactor on the Lake Michigan shore of northern Wisconsin by mid-2013.
As reported in an article at AOL Energy, by a former nuclear power industry 20-year veteran worker:
"A pattern is developing. It may take a few years, but it appears small nuclear plants will face increasing pressure to retire early. They cannot compete, particularly in soft markets. Some plants will find their costs consistently exceed any benefits they earn and their owners will be forced to retire and dismember plants."
The author, Glenn S.K. Williams, in his article "The Nation's Nuclear Plants Are Nuked," lists the following reactors as at risk of "early retirement": NextEra/FPL's Point Beach nuclear plant in WI; certain of Exelon's IL reactors, as well as its Oyster Creek in NJ; Duke's Crystal River in FL; Southern CA Edison's San Onofre; Entergy's Vermont Yankee, as well as Indian Point in NY.
Platts has also reported on a UBS Securities analyst's prediction that Entergy's FitzPatrick, NY and Vermont Yankee, as well as Exelon's Clinton, IL and Ginna, NY "merchant" reactors in deregulated markets, are under intense pressure to "retire early." 
(We would point out that "early retirement" at any of the 73 atomic reactors granted 20-year license extensions by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is a contradiction in terms!)

Article originally appeared on Beyond Nuclear (
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  1. So the little reactors will be replaced by new, huge reactors. Doesn't sound that promising. And what happens to this facility's spent fuel? They never mention this factor, which is so weird. Will they just bury it and put up a "Keep Out" sign? Sure, that'll work.

  2. Spent fuel...yes the little item no one wants to talk about. The DOE really isn't pushing for a central permanent disposal site and even the environmental groups don't really want this stuff being transported all over the place. Looks like what will happen is just about what you mention - every reactor site will probably have to come up with their own long term permanent dry cask storage system. It really is a BIG mess. But spent fuel can't remain in the storage pools forever.