Nuclear reactors that light New York City and Chicago with carbon-free electricity face possible extinction before they can reap the benefits of President Barack Obama’s proposed climate rules.
>A slump in power prices, increasing maintenance expense as plants age and stricter safety regulations following Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster may prompt the industry to retire as many as five plants before the end of the decade, according to research firm UBS Securities LLC. That would eliminate enough generating capacity to power 2.4 million U.S. homes. […]
Reactors such as Indian Point are combating critics that want to shut them down over safety concerns. New York, for example, has solicited bids to replace the plant with natural gas-fired generators and authorized a transmission line to deliver hydropower from Quebec.
Retired nuclear units would likely be replaced by gas plants built by operators such as NRG Energy Inc. (NRG), which would have the result of increasing overall greenhouse gas emissions. That may complicate Obama’s longstanding goal of slashing U.S. emissions 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, and echo challenges faced by countries such as Japan and Germany as they phase out nuclear power, said Chris Gadomski, an analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance.<
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