Entergy, after review, decides
to retain merchant units: CEO
Entergy Chairman and CEO Leo Denault said February
11 that after testing the market the company has decided
it will no longer pursue the possible sale of of its merchant
nuclear units in the Northeast and Midwest.
“Our conclusion, based on what we know today, is that
we intend to own and operate this [nuclear] fleet for the
foreseeable future,” Denault said during Entergy’s fourthquarter
earnings conference call with securities analysts.
“We know there has been a lot of uncertainty on this
point, so we thought it was important to let you know
that, based on our current point of view, we have made no
decision to close any of the plants” beyond its Vermont
Yankee unit, “and are not actively considering selling any
at this time.”
Denault added, however, that Entergy could revisit the
issue at some future date, and will continue to track developments
regarding nuclear regulation, Northeast power
market rules, and capacity and energy prices in the markets
where the nuclear units operate.
Entergy Wholesale Operations owns six nuclear units
totaling 5,204 MW at five sites. The units are the 1,067-MW
Indian Point-2 and 1,080-MW Indian Point-3 in New York;
the 849-MW FitzPatrick in New York; the 845-MW Palisades
in Michigan; the 728-MW Pilgrim in Massachusetts; and the
635-MW Vermont Yankee in Vermont. Vermont Yankee is
scheduled to be retired by the end of 2014.
The economics of the units has been challenged by
relatively low prices of electricity and capacity markets for
future generation in the northeastern US, among other
Asked by an analyst whether Denault’s statement on
retaining merchant units represents a change from Entergy’s
past position regarding Entergy Wholesale Operations’
nuclear fleet, Bill Mohl, the subsidiary’s president, replied,
“You did pick up on a change” in the company’s plans.
Mohl said that decision to retain Entergy’s non-utility
nuclear units was not related to the recent run-up in nearterm
power prices in the Northeast. Instead, he said, “it’s
really a function of what we’ve been telling you for a while,
that we were exploring opportunities and … we didn’t
find anything we really liked” regarding offers by others to
acquire the units.
“We like owning them better,” Mohl said of the nuclear
units, adding that Entergy Wholesale Operations for the foreseeable future will work to optimize the economics of its
nuclear fleet through improved management and operation,
hedging and the like.
Denault said Entergy Wholesale Operations is taking
several steps to improve the economics of its nuclear fleet.
“Take hedging, for example. Several years ago we expanded
our use of options and collars that provided downside protection
and offered some ability to receive higher prices [for
the nuclear units’ output] if the market moved up consistent
with our analysis of the markets.”
A hedge is a contract aimed at mitigating the risks associated
with fluctuating power prices. Typically, a hedge contract
locks in the price that a party will pay for power at a
specific time in the future, and they are used by generating
companies to limit the risks of declining power prices.
A collar is a hedge contract that entitles the buyer to
power within a certain range at a specified time.
Denault said as a result of the company’s hedging activity
that “last winter and again this winter we were able to
capitalize on the run-up in power prices. This strategy contributed
to our strong 2013 earnings performance.”
Denault said Entergy Wholesale Operation’s nuclear fleet
also is benefiting from a tightening supply situation in New
York State, where three of the subsidiary’s six nuclear units
are located. And he said two of those units — Indian Point-
2 and -3 — will benefit from the New York Independent
System Operators new Lower Hudson Valley zone, which
will be implemented on May 1.
Because of the supply-demand balance in that zone, prices
for power are expected to be higher there than in other
parts of New York.
Despite recent increases in power prices, challenges
to the economics of the non-utility nuclear fleet remain,
Denault said. “Long-term sustained capacity and power prices
continue to weigh on [the economics of] FitzPatrick and
Pilgrim, and would at Palisades were it not for the power
purchase agreement through early
Manager, Strategic Campaigns
Global Security Program
Union of Concerned Scientists
Exelon May Shut Down Nuclear Plants:
UtilityDive.com, by Ethan Howland, February 7, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business, by Steve Daniels, February 6, 2014
Some of Exelon's ten nuclear plants are unprofitable and the company may shut them down. Analysts have identified the downstate Clinton plant and Quad Cities as the two in Illinois that fit this description. A decision is expected by the end of the year. The Chicago-based company contends that its roughly 19,000 MW of nuclear plants have been hurt by low power prices caused by subsidized wind generation and low natural gas prices. Exelon argues that tax credits enable wind farms in areas of the country that have a surplus of power, like Illinois, to run profitably even when wholesale prices are zero. Accordingly, the company will push for policies to end renewable subsidies.
TMI @ 35 Conference
Fukushima to become 100% renewable powered by 2040
Fukushima’s prefecture, three years after the major earthquake which resulted in a nuclear disaster, has announced that they wish to be totally renewable powered by 2040. The idea is seen as a positive step to embrace renewable energy in Japan, where the national government remains pro-nuclear, despite a survey found that that 53 percent of Japanese people wanted to see nuclear power phased out gradually, while other 23% wanted it immediately done with.
After the incident, Japan has had to shut down 50 of its nuclear reactors, which has forced the government to switch to other sources of energy. Currently, Japan’s solar industry has registered a great success, in large part due to government incentives such as a feed-in tariff that was passed into law soon after the Fukushima meltdown. Another important renewable project is the Renewable Energy Village (REV) with about 120 solar panels whose combined power generation amounts to 30 kilowatts, while in the months to come the photovoltaic panels that have so far been installed are expected to be accompanied by several wind turbines. At present, Fukushima derives 22% of its primary energy from renewable sources.
TMI @ 35 Conference
The Three Mile Island Nuclear Crisis in Perspective
This event information was created Oct 9 2013 - 1:42pm, updated Dec 18 2013 - 1:05pm
Room: Morrison Gallery
Thu, 03/27/2014 - Fri, 03/28/2014
Join us at our two-day conference as we re-examine the lessons learned from the historic TMI nuclear crisis and answer important questions about how TMI set a precedent for nuclear security and safety, how it informed research, and how the event provided a catalyst for social change. We’ll also examine the management of complex catastrophic events today. What does such management look like in the era of Homeland Security?
Featuring experts from Penn State Faculty, external experts and stakeholders, historic personalities, and eyewitnesses.
This event is organized by the School of Public Affairs, Chair of Homeland Security, in collaboration with other schools and units of Penn State Harrisburg and Penn State.
A conference program flyer will be available soon — stay tuned.
Oral history panel – The TMI accident from the point of view of involved/affected communities
Roundtable: TMI 1979 in perspective – Changes in nuclear security and safety
Panel: TMI and the comprehensive approach to crisis management – cross-disciplinary perspectives from Penn State research
Student panel: TMI and anti-nuclear activism
Concluding roundtable: Challenges ahead – What we did (not) learn from TMI for the era of Homeland Security
Reception hosted by the Program Office of inter-college Master program of Homeland Security, Penn State Harrisburg
Conference Dates and Times:
Thursday, March 27, noon - 6pm
Friday, March 28, 9am-6:30pm
Register online free of charge at http://tmi-35.eventbrite.com
For further information, please contact:
Dr. Alexander Siedschlag
Professor and Chair of Homeland Security
Penn State Harrisburg
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Due to the government shutdown and subsequent rescheduling of public meetings and extension of the public comment period, the Commission has granted the Waste Confidence Directorate a four-week extension to the overall rulemaking schedule. However, in granting the extension, the Commission urged the Waste Confidence Directorate to continue to work towards the original September 2014 deadline for the rulemaking, and the Directorate is doing just that. A press release regarding this announcement was issued this afternoon: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/news/2014/14-003.pdf. Any additional schedule-related announcements will continue to be made via WCOutreach e-mail and will be posted to our website at http://www.nrc.gov/waste/spent-fuel-storage/wcd/schedule.html.
And finally, a quick reminder that the Waste Confidence Directorate will be hosting a status update teleconference on Wednesday, January 29th, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EST. To participate, prior to the start of the meeting, please dial 1-800-475-8385 and provide the operator with passcode 80907.
Staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Waste Confidence Directorate