Addressing Economic Challenges Facing Nuclear Power Plants

Reprinted with permission. Original published on Forbes.com on May 20, 2016. On Thursday, May 19, the Department of (DOE) hosted a four-hour, invitation-only summit in a meeting room in the Senate Office building. Billed as an action-oriented forum for a variety of stakeholders to discuss what they can do about the economic challenges facing nuclear…

Exelon’s Chris Crane blames lawmakers for his plant closure announcements

A few minutes ago, Exelon employees received an email from Chris Crane, the company CEO, announcing the company’s decision to permanently close three nuclear reactors that each produce 7-8 billion kilowatt hours of electricity each year without dumping a molecule of CO2 into the atmosphere. Even though the company reported 2015 after-tax earnings of approximately…

Brinksmanship tactic fails in Illinois. Competitors handed easy victory

Exelon, a corporation that I publicly “unfriended” in 2009, has apparently failed to receive the assistance it demanded by the May 31st deadline it imposed on the Illinois legislature. Aside: For reasons that aren’t obvious, Exelon’s public communications about financial difficulties affecting its nuclear plants rarely, if ever, mention the magnitude of the cost increases…

Are Diablo Canyon Employees Being Sold Down The River?

Are Diablo Canyon Employees Being Sold Down The River?

Recently, the below email to Diablo Canyon workers landed in my in-box. Aside: I subscribe to a lot of different mailing lists. End Aside. It’s from Michael Shellenberger, the founder of Environmental Progress. Michael is a tireless and vocal advocate for nuclear power as a valuable tool for solving some of the world’s most wicked…

Real people are harmed when other people decide to close nuclear plants

Communications professionals have often counseled nuclear professionals to stop sounding so much like scientists and engineers. We often purposely avoid emotion because we like to think of ourselves as rational people that make decisions based on hard facts, numbers and quantifiable metrics. Many of the people who have sought and obtained positions of responsibility and…

Columnists declare nuclear to be uncompetitive

On Saturday, April 30, Leonard Hyman & William Tilles published an opinion column on Oilprice.com headlined Lets (sic) Stop Pretending Nuclear Power Is Commercially Viable. Aside: Leonard Hyman is an accomplished electricity industry analyst and historian. I have a dog-eared copy of his 1983 work titled America‚Äôs Electric Utilities: Past, Present and Future on my…

House Energy and Commerce seeks to enable advanced nuclear energy

On Friday, April 29, 2016, the Energy and Power subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing to discuss H.R. 4979 and a draft discussion bill with the unfortunate acronym of NUKEPA (Nuclear Utilization of Keynote Energy Policies Act). Though at different stages of the legislative process, both documents are efforts to…

Atomic Show #253 – Delivering the Nuclear Promise

The US nuclear industry has decided that it’s time to take aggressive action to improve its operational efficiency. Leaders have looked hard at the competitive landscape. They’ve clearly recognized that while they produce a valuable, desirable commodity, their production costs are not competitive. Many of them aren’t willing to give up their markets and valuable…

Bechtel will “pursue” accelerated mPower development

I’ve relearned a valuable lesson — read press releases and other PR material closely, paying special attention to wiggle words. On Friday, March 4, Bechtel issued a press release titled Bechtel, BWXT to Pursue Acceleration of Small Modular Nuclear Reactor Project. In my excitement, I missed the key word in the headline and in the…

U-Battery – Micronuclear power with intriguing business model

U-Battery was one of the more intriguing presenters at the Advanced Reactor Technical Summit (ARTSIII) held at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory last week. Even though this was a technical summit, the segments of the presentation that captured my attention were the business model and the funding source. However, certain technical choices are vital to…

Dr. Rachel Slaybaugh “It’s an exciting time to be in nuclear engineering.”

During the Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase, there was a terrific conversation about a growing level of excitement among university students who are studying nuclear engineering, among more established members of the nuclear community and among other people who are passionate about helping to save the world. Some of that enthusiasm stems from the fact…