Grid reliance will continue to be a priority despite the White House's move away from plans for potential nuclear bailouts, says Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Neil Chatterjee. The FERC will continue to work on grid strength, with Chatterjee noting, "We've got our resilience docket open."
Eighty-year operating license renewals could become a reality, helping plants save on costs, assuming safety and performance can be maintained. "Over half of the nuclear fleet has expressed interest in also submitting 80-year license renewals," says the Nuclear Energy Institute's Jason Remer.
The Energy Department's effort to provide subsidies to the nuclear industry is in direct conflict with the Defense Department's security efforts, write Peter Behr and Hannah Northey. In particular, keeping nuclear and coal plants in operation runs counter to the energy security and reducing military dependence on local utilities.
Stalemates in Congress and government have made finding a long-term nuclear waste solution next to impossible, writes Jeremy Dillon. But recent bipartisan support for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear-waste repository in Nevada offers a silver lining, he writes.
The Idaho National Laboratory is considering accepting up to 8,500 cubic meters of transuranic waste from the Hanford nuclear site in Washington, but the idea faces political push-back. Both of the state's candidates for governor have voiced opposition to the plan.
Nuclear generation was lower in September compared with over the summer as more plants began refueling sooner than expected and some experienced unplanned outages related to Hurricane Florence. However, there have still been fewer unscheduled outages for 2018 than in the last few years.
The South Carolina General Assembly is accepting nonbinding bids for Santee Cooper as lawmakers explore selling the utility company, which was involved in the V.C. Summer project. ICF International will assess any bids on behalf of the General Assembly, likely making a recommendation by the end of February.
Washington state's Department of Ecology approved permits for an Effluent Management Facility at the Hanford nuclear site. The facility is the last major support building needed for Hanford's vitrification plant.
Exelon's Oyster Creek nuclear plant can remove various emergency planning measures starting in September, says the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This includes eliminating an Emergency Planning Zone.
Although the Trump administration's effort to bail out nuclear and coal plants has stalled, it could still make a comeback, but in a different variation, says an unnamed White House official. "[P]olicies never truly die and a resurrection when Trump is back on the ballot in 2020 remains a distinct possibility," says Rob Rains of Washington Analysis LLC.