Threat to nearly one-fifth of our nation’s ninety-nine reactors is real
Maria Korsnick is chief operating officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute. Previously she served as senior vice president of Exelon’s northeast operations and acting chief executive officer and chief nuclear officer of Constellation Energy Nuclear Group, CENG. Earlier, she held positions of increasing responsibility at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant, and CENG’s headquarters.
At a recent summit on the economics of America's nuclear power plants, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz sounded like a man who knows America's electric sector has entered quicksand.
Despite excellent operations, several nuclear energy facilities in competitive electric markets have closed prematurely, or are at risk of doing so soon. This is happening despite the fact that nuclear energy is far and away our largest source of carbon-free power.
"The challenge is very clear," Moniz said in May. "With the economic challenges facing certainly some of our nuclear plants, we're seeing, as you well know, some closures before license expirations. We're seeing the prospect of even more. The importance of incentivizing continued operation, I think, is very clear, but the solutions are less clear."
Secretary Moniz is right. There is no single obvious solution. But actionable policy initiatives exist at the state and federal levels.
The irony is that we urgently need more, not fewer, nuclear power plants. They're needed to provide baseload clean air energy, and drive the economic growth and technological advancements that will make life better for future generations.
The threat to nearly one-fifth of our nation's ninety-nine reactors is real.