Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The NY Times reports that the Kewaunee Power Station will close early next year because the owner is unable to find a buyer and the plant is no longer economically viable driven by slack demand for energy and the low price of natural gas. “This was an extremely difficult decision, especially in light of how well the station is running and the dedication of the employees,” says Dominion CEO Thomas F. Farrell II. “This decision was based purely on economics.” When Dominion bought the plant from local owners in 2005, it signed contracts to sell them the electricity, a common practice, but as those contracts expire, the plant faces selling electricity at the lower rates that now dominate the energy market. Other companies have also reported falling revenues, although they may not be on the verge of closing reactors because they are in regions where the market price of electricity is higher. The closing, which did not catch many in the industry by surprise, highlights the struggle of the U.S. "nuclear renaissance." A decade ago, the nuclear industry talked about a nuclear renaissance due to rising fossil fuel prices and concerns about meeting greenhouse gas emissions, but the nuclear revival did not occur in the United States as the cost of fossil fuels like natural gas fell and the federal government has been slow to put a price on carbon. "A number of nuclear units won't run their 60-year licensed lives if current gas price forecasts prove accurate," says Peter Bradford, a former member of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. "The determining factor is likely to come at the point at which they need to decide on a major capital investment.""
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