Senators boost nuclear research as amendment votes begin
Voting on the Senate's energy package launched this afternoon, with senators easily backing a bipartisan proposal to boost nuclear energy research.
The chamber voted 87-4 to adopt an amendment by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) to task the Department of Energy with launching a public-private partnership focused on research and development of advanced nuclear reactors.
Utilities, companies form group to advance small reactors
A group of utilities and energy and technology companies are forming a consortium to advance commercialization of small modular reactors, which are viewed as a potential solution for energy challenges such as bringing baseload power to remote locations.
The new group, called SMR Start, will represent companies in "interactions with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Congress and the executive branch," according to the Nuclear Energy Institute. It will also offer a "unified voice" for a variety of policy issues and help create cost-sharing funding structures between the public and private sector.
Vogtle's rising costs to land on PSC doorstep
ATLANTA -- Georgia Power may have settled an ongoing dispute with the contractors building twin nuclear reactors, but a much larger fight is ahead.
The utility is asking the Georgia Public Service Commission to sign off on its portion of $915 million in increased costs that have stemmed from a lawsuit settlement with Westinghouse Electric Co. and Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. An approval would add $350 million to Georgia Power's capital costs for the Plant Vogtle expansion project.
CLEAN POWER PLAN:
Ga. power providers push expanded role for nuclear
Georgia's largest group of municipalities and electric cooperatives wants U.S. EPA to expand a voluntary portion of its Clean Power Program to include nuclear power, which could give a boost to two reactors currently under construction in the Peach State.
The Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG) and Oglethorpe Power Corp. argue that EPA should include nuclear and other emissions-free electricity in its optional incentive program designed to encourage states to build wind and solar energy generation and install energy efficiency measures in low-income communities between 2020 and 2022.
Reliability spiked in 2015 -- industry
Despite periods of extreme weather and an increase in national electricity demand, nuclear energy set a reliability record in 2015, according to initial estimates from the Nuclear Energy Institute.
Based on preliminary data compiled by the institute, the nation's 99 nuclear power plants generating electricity in 30 states operated at an average capacity level of 91.9 percent, besting a 2007 record by one-tenth of a percentage point.