Executive Intelligence Review


President Trump May Intervene To Save Nuclear Plants

April 6, 2018 (EIRNS)—President Donald Trump said in remarks in West Virginia, yesterday, regarding the request from FirstEnergy for the U.S. Department of Energy to intervene to prevent the closure of its nuclear plants, that he would “be looking at that” when he returned to Washington. If it were done, it would be the federal government taking a critical stand on energy policy, and an FDR-like invocation of federal law above state law, which has not come through with legislation to save the plants.

The law in question is Section 202 of the Federal Power Act, which says that the FPA ensures “just and reasonable cost-based rates” for generators that have an onsite 25-day fuel supply and are not recovering their costs. In the past, it has only been used to secure power during natural disasters and other emergencies, and prevent price gouging. This would be the first time it would be used in a situation that results from “market conditions,” Utility Dive website explains.

Such an action would potentially have an impact on other nuclear plants in deregulated “market” states which are losing money, and could otherwise have to shut down.

The next step would be to create the conditions under which new plants could be built. It was announced yesterday by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it has approved the issuance of a combined construction and operating license to Florida Power & Light for two nuclear plants at its Turkey Point site.

When the economy starts to grow, and currently stagnating electricity demand leads the way, the crop of nuclear plants that has been waiting in the wings will emerge, to start the “nuclear renaissance” that the industry has been awaiting for a decade.