New York State benefits from nuclear investment

06 June 2017

Investment of $310 million in recently completed refuelling and maintenance outages at Exelon's nuclear power plants in upstate New York would not have been possible without the state's clean energy legislation, Exelon said yesterday. Meanwhile, 13 US states have joined a coalition committed to upholding the Paris climate change agreement.

Nine Mile Point (Exelon)_460
Nine Mile Point (Image: Exelon)

The three plants - RE Ginna, James A Fitzpatrick and the two-unit Nine Mile point - had all been under threat from the economic challenges of the deregulated electricity markets they operate in, and competition from low-cost gas and federally subsidised wind power. However, the state in August 2016 approved a Clean Energy Standard (CES) that explicitly recognises the zero-carbon contribution of nuclear power plants in its pursuit of clean energy goals.

Exelon said it invested more than $180 million in the Ginna and Nine Mile Point outages, with expenditure on new fuel, capital upgrades and outage execution costs. The company also helped to fund refuelling outage costs of over $130 million at Fitzpatrick, which it acquired from Entergy in April.

"New York State is committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Accord regardless of Washington's irresponsible actions."

Andrew Cuomo,
New York Governor

Bryan Hanson, Exelon Generation senior vice president and Exelon Nuclear chief nuclear officer, said the refuelling outages - and the reinvestment associated with them - had been made possible by the state's ruling. "We applaud New York for adopting the Clean Energy Standard," he said.

The refuelling outages - all completed between January and May - saw over 3000 additional workers joining the plants' full time employees, with associated benefits for local economies.

The Clean Energy Standard is critical not only to helping our state meet its clean energy goals, but also extremely important to the region I represent and its economy," Senator Patty Ritchie said.

Ted Skerpon, president of IBEW Local Union 97, said the consistent nature of refuelling outages ensured a steady stream of work for the state's tradespeople. "We've come to count on this work every year," he said.

States form alliance

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has emphasised the state's ongoing commitment to act on climate change despite President Donald Trump's recent announcement of the USA's planned withdrawal from the agreement, a decision Cuomo described as "reckless".

In response to Trump's decision, Cuomo, along with California Governor Edmund Brown and Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, on 1 June announced the formation of the United States Climate Alliance, a coalition of states committed to upholding the Paris Climate Agreement and taking aggressive action on climate change.

"New York State is committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Accord regardless of Washington's irresponsible actions."

Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia have now joined the alliance of states committed to achieving the national goal of reducing emissions 26-28% from 2005 levels and meeting or exceeding the targets of the federal Clean Power Plan.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News