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Face-Off: The Renaissance of Nuclear Power

Nuclear power is on the verge of an extraordinary expansion.
Fortnightly Magazine - June 15 2003

downs of the business cycle, there is nothing stopping a decision to build new nuclear plants but the reticence of nuclear plant owner-management, their boards of directors, and Wall Street. This reticence is difficult to comprehend given the large financial returns being earned on existing nuclear assets, and the billions of dollars that have been lost on other ill-considered energy ventures.

Energy company managers and their Wall Street advisors have been pursuing investment strategies that couldn't have had a higher risk profile, while they have all but ignored new nuclear plants.

  1. U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration Web site,
  2. U.S. Commercial Nuclear Power Industry Assessment for Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, October 2001, Edward M. Quinn, MDM Services Corp.
  3. Reliable, Affordable, and Environmentally Sound Energy for America's Future; Report of the National Energy Policy Development Group; May 17, 2001.
  4. World Nuclear Association,
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Nuclear Energy Institute,
  8. Ibid.
  9. Ibid.
  10. The Wall Street Journal; May 16, 2003.
  11. Vision 2020, Nuclear Energy and the Nation's Future Prosperity; Nuclear Energy Institute.

A Reference: Recent Nuclear Consolidations

  • AmerGen Energy Co., a joint venture between PECO Energy and British Energy, became the first generating company to acquire an operating nuclear power plant in the United States when it purchased Three Mile Island 1 from General Public Utilities. Other acquisitions since include the Clinton Plant in Illinois and the Oyster Creek plant in New Jersey.
  • PECO and Commonwealth Edison merged to form Exelon and operate their combined fleet of 15 reactors under one organization, Exelon Nuclear.
  • Entergy expanded its original fleet of four reactors to 10 by acquiring River Bend through its purchase of Gulf States Utilities, Indian Point 2 from Con Edison, Indian Point 3 and Fitzpatrick from the New York Power Authority, Vermont Yankee from a consortium of New England utilities, and Pilgrim from Boston Edison. All of these plants are managed and operated by Entergy Nuclear.
  • Dominion Energy has expanded its operating reactor fleet from four to six by acquiring Millstone 2 and 3 from Northeast Utilities.
  • Constellation Energy has expanded its reactor fleet from two to four by acquiring Nine Mile Point 1 and 2 from Niagara Mohawk.
  • Florida Power and Light just expanded its reactor fleet from four to five by acquiring Seabrook 1.
  • Progress Corp. has a fleet of five reactors after Carolina Power and Light and Florida Progress Corp. merged.
  • Centerior, Ohio Edison, Penn Power, and General Public Utilities, after merging to form FirstEnergy, have a fleet of four reactors (Beaver Valley 1 & 2, Perry, and Davis-Besse). -J.S.

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