SOURCE: Nuclear Energy Institute

Nuclear Energy Institute

February 09, 2017 16:50 ET

NEI to Wall Street: Nuclear Energy Is a Cornerstone of American Infrastructure

Nuclear Plants Are Irreplaceable National Assets

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - February 09, 2017) - America's nuclear reactors provide an irreplaceable suite of benefits to consumers, the economy, and the environment; states are increasingly recognizing the advantages, the head of the Nuclear Energy Institute told Wall Street analysts this morning. New technologies in the design and licensing phase will include a range of modern reactors, varied in size, design and mission, which will help America provide the technology that meets the world's needs for electricity, water, fuels, and chemicals, cleanly and economically, said Maria G. Korsnick, NEI's president and chief executive.

Nuclear power will remain a core component of America's electricity infrastructure, she said. But the electric markets still generally fail to pay plant owners for all the services their reactors provide, part of the reason for some announcements of premature plant closures in recent months.

Yet New York, Illinois and Wisconsin have all taken pronuclear steps in the last few months.

"Our operating nuclear plants are the backbone of the U.S. electric system, and a critical part of our national electric infrastructure," Korsnick said. "We see states, regions and the federal government taking actions to preserve our nuclear power plants. They recognize that these plants constitute critical infrastructure that is too valuable to lose," Korsnick told approximately 150 Wall Street analysts.

While a handful of nuclear plants have closed prematurely in recent years, the U.S. industry worked with stakeholders in two states in 2016, Illinois and New York, to preserve five nuclear plants that would otherwise have shut down.

At last year's Wall Street briefing NEI introduced analysts to the industry's "Delivering the Nuclear Promise" initiative, designed to bring vital efficiencies, additional safety and operational savings to every plant. Thursday morning, Korsnick highlighted the initiative's accomplishments in just one year: More than 1,000 staff across the industry identified $650 million in potential savings for the operating fleet. Our aspirational goal is $3 billion. To date, more than 90 percent of identified measures are being implemented at plant sites.

"And we are just getting started," Korsnick said.

Korsnick outlined the value America's 99 operating reactors offer as economic engines in their host communities and across the nation:

  • The industry contributes approximately $60 billion every year to the U.S. economy.
  • It's responsible for 475,000 jobs, producing more than $12 billion annually in federal and state tax revenues.
  • Over its operating lifetime a single two-unit plant supports the equivalent of 1,500 jobs for 40 years.
  • The plants are long-lived assets, operating for 60 and perhaps ultimately up to 80 years. The new plants under construction in Georgia and South Carolina will still be operating in 2080.

Challenges for the U.S. nuclear industry remain, and additional reactors are at risk of premature shutdown, Korsnick acknowledged. The nation, she said, faces two challenges of immediate concern: preserving as much of its baseload infrastructure as possible, which includes existing nuclear capacity, and creating the policy conditions under which companies will develop and build new nuclear capacity.

"By any objective measure, nuclear energy represents the most complete value proposition of all sources of electricity," Korsnick said. "A promising future creates a compelling rationale for tackling nuclear energy's challenges in the present."

The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry's policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available at www.nei.org.

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