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NRC Issues Subsequent License Renewals for First Time to Nuclear Reactors in Florida

LCG, December 11, 2019--The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff recently approved Florida Power & Light's (FPL's) application for an additional 20 years of operation for Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Units 3 and 4. This is the first time the NRC has issued renewed licenses authorizing reactor operation from 60 to 80 years. The subsequent (or second) license renewals (SLRs) for Turkey Point Unit 3 and Unit 4 now expire on July 19, 2052 and April 10, 2053, respectively.

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New York Poised to Close Last Coal-fire Power Plant

LCG, December 4, 2019--The last operating coal-fired power plant in New York is moving toward closure shortly. Last month, Somerset Operating Company, a subsidiary of Riesling Power LLC, submitted a request to the New York State Public Service Commission (NYSPSC) to waive the state's required, 180-day notice to close the Somerset Station, allowing the facility to be retired on February 15, 2020. Closure is contingent on approvals by both NYSPSC and the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), which will evaluate if it will cause an adverse effect on grid reliability.

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Industry News

Bush Admin to Release Pollution Rules Regarding Old. Plants

LCG, August 22, 2003The U.S. EnvironmentalProtection Agency is poised to release rules onpollution that will make it easier for older plants tobe renovated without pollution controlmechanisms having to be constructed.

According to the New York Times and the NaturalResources Defense Council, the Bush Administrationwill release a rule some time next week allowing olderpower plants and oil refineries to upgrade facilitieswithout installing equipment that would decreasepollution .

In 1977, according to the Clean Air Act, Congressmade provisions for aging power plants to avoid newerpollution laws unless new construction or renovationwas undertaken. The allowance was made in order that alarge number of coal plants would not have to be shutdown immediately after tighter pollution laws wereinstated. Since that time owners of older, "dirtier"industrial plants have walked a fine line betweenroutine maintenance and renovation.

While the acting head of the EPA might validatethe law as early as next week, White Housespokesperson Scott McClellan would not verify anyaction on the new rule.

Those opposed to the rule are upset that theAdministration is acting while Congress is in recessand before the EPAs likely new head, Utah Governor MichaelLeavitt, has been confirmed. Utahs director of airquality under Leavitt is strongly against the morelenient rule.

Senators John Kerry and James Jeffords havealready taken advantage of the possible rule in orderto denounce the Administrations actions asenvironmentally harmful and tailored to specialinterest groups. Environmentalists have noted statistics onpremature death and asthma rates related to contaminants andparticulates in the air from plants, alleging thousandswill die earlier than expected and tens of thousandswill suffer lung troubles if the rule is instated.

Owners of older plants support the rule and saythat the current laws prevent their plants frombecoming more efficient and reliable. Some insist thecost of bringing plants to current pollution limits istoo high on top of renovation costs, causing plantowners to leave older plants in their current,dilapidated state far too long.

According to some sources, the new rule would allow plant owners to replaceor upgrade equipment without complying with pollutionrules if the cost of the upgrade is 20 percent or less of an amount the EPA dubs a "process unit," which refers to the key plant components already in place.

While most new installations are fueled by natural gas, and are cleaner and moreefficient than older units, about half of allelectricity in the United States is still generated bycoal-fired plants.

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