Nukewatch Quarterly Fall 2013
In the past year, major US utilities have announced permanent shut downs at five existing nuclear reactors and canceled plans for building seven more:
1) Vermont Yankee, Vermont — 1 reactor — shut down announced August 27, 2013: After years of pressure from protestors and lawmakers, Entergy announced plans to permanently close its Vermont Yankee facility by the end of 2014. See back page for details.
2 & 3) Levy County, Florida — 2 reactors — August 1, 2013: Duke Energy canceled plans for its Levy County reactors as part of a settlement with the state after a law allowing utilities to charge customers for nuclear projects that may never be built was revised. Customers could still face a bill of up to $1.5 billion for the initial costs of the project, which never provided them with electricity.
4 & 5) Calvert Cliffs, Maryland & Nine Mile Point, New York — 1 reactor each — canceled July 30, 2013: Owned by Electricite de France (EDF), the operating licenses for new reactors at Calvert Cliffs and Nine Mile Point were denied in August 2012 because of an Atomic Energy Act law prohibiting foreign ownership of US reactors. EDF announced July 30 that it would pull its interest out of new reactors in the US, with its chief executive saying, “The circumstances for the development of nuclear in the US are not favorable at the moment. We are a major player in nuclear, but we are not obsessed by nuclear. Our development in the US will focus on renewable energy; that will be our vector of growth in the US.”
6 & 7) San Onofre, California — 2 reactors — shut down June 7, 2013: After new but seriously flawed equipment caused Edison to pull both reactors offline in January 2012, an unfavorable judicial decision moved the company to close them permanently. (See Page 4 for details.)
8) MidAmerican, Iowa — 1 reactor — canceled June 4, 2013: MidAmerican Energy canceled plans to build a new reactor in Iowa after completing a two-year feasibility study funded by its ratepayers. The company blamed environmental regulations, and the uncertainty of the untested “small modular” reactor technology that it had planned to use, for the cancelation. MidAmerican plans to invest $1.9 billion in wind energy in Iowa instead.
9) Kewaunee, Wisconsin — 1 reactor — shut down May 7, 2013: Dominion announced in October 2012 it would retire Kewaunee early for economic reasons.
10 & 11) Shearon Harris, North Carolina — 2 reactors — canceled May 2, 2013: Duke Energy announced it would not add two new reactors to its Shearon Harris site, where one reactor has been running for 25 years. Duke cited slow demand growth as a reason for its decision, saying the power produced by the new units would not be needed for another 15 years. The site was originally built for four reactors, and three of its four cooling pools are used to hold highly radioactive waste fuel, making the site one of the nation’s largest concentrations of radioactive waste.
12) Crystal River, Florida — 1 reactor — shut down Februray 5, 2013: After a 2009 accident resulted in a cracked containment building, Duke Energy decided to permanently close the reactor less than a year after it acquired the unit in 2012.
In addition to the above cancelations, Exelon announced June 12th that it had canceled major power upgrades for two reactors at its Limerick site in Pennsylvania and two at its LaSalle site in Illinois, “based on market conditions,” and Xcel canceled an upgrade for its Prairie Island reactor in Minnesota last October. — ASP