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NRC Issues Subsequent License Renewals for First Time to Nuclear Reactors in Florida

LCG, December 11, 2019--The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff recently approved Florida Power & Light's (FPL's) application for an additional 20 years of operation for Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Units 3 and 4. This is the first time the NRC has issued renewed licenses authorizing reactor operation from 60 to 80 years. The subsequent (or second) license renewals (SLRs) for Turkey Point Unit 3 and Unit 4 now expire on July 19, 2052 and April 10, 2053, respectively.

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New York Poised to Close Last Coal-fire Power Plant

LCG, December 4, 2019--The last operating coal-fired power plant in New York is moving toward closure shortly. Last month, Somerset Operating Company, a subsidiary of Riesling Power LLC, submitted a request to the New York State Public Service Commission (NYSPSC) to waive the state's required, 180-day notice to close the Somerset Station, allowing the facility to be retired on February 15, 2020. Closure is contingent on approvals by both NYSPSC and the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), which will evaluate if it will cause an adverse effect on grid reliability.

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Industry News

TVA's New Boss Says Agency up to Challenges

LCG, Sept. 11, 2001--Glenn McCullough, appointed by President Bush in July to run the Tennessee Valley Authority, ran his family's steel business, McCullough Steel Products. During his 12 years with the company, he served in several capacities, including sales manager, vice president, and president.

He will need that business background to guide the giant taxpayer-owned utility in an increasingly competitive environment and to get a handle on its enormous debt.

TVA chairmen, including McCullough, are political appointees, and many have earned their positions as rewards for past political services. Retiring Craven Crowell was a prolific Democrat Party fund raiser and a former press agent and chief of staff for a U.S. senator, for example.

TVA operates within an 80,000-square-mile service territory that includes within its "fence" most of Tennessee and parts of adjoining states. It holds captive some 158 electric distributors, many of which are itching to try getting power cheaper in a competitive market.

At the same time, private utilities on the outside are trying to knock a few boards out of the fence. McCullough says he is aware of the situation and wants to make sure that any holes in the fence aren't one-way.

In addition to the problems with looming competition, TVA has some fences to mend with environmentalists. Originally created to improve and maintain navigation on the Tennessee River and harness its hydroelectric potential, the agency branched out into coal-fired and nuclear power plants.

Both ventures have left TVA with problems. Two of its coal-fired plants are among the worst polluters in the United States. Its Chattanooga plant emits more oxides of nitrogen that any other U.S. industrial facility; its Cumberland City, Tenn., plant leads the nation in emissions of sulphur dioxide.

Unit 1 at TVA's Brown's Ferry nuclear plant in Alabama was shut down for refueling in March of 1985 and has never been restarted. Its Bellefonte nuclear plant, also in Alabama, was never completed. These two "assets" represent an enormous investment, which McCullough characterizes as "non-performing."

TVA directors want the staff to "come up with ways to make those assets perform," he said.

In addition to McCullough, who became a TVA director in 1999, the three-member board includes Knoxville businessman Bill Baxter, whose confirmation is pending in the U.S. Senate, and Skila Harris, a Democrat from Kentucky who once worked for Al Gore and the Energy Department and joined the board with McCullough three years ago.

McCullough thinks the three-member set-up works just fine and resists notions by some members of Congress to expand the membership with part-time directors. "We really don't function as a board so much as three CEOs," he said. "We are here every day. We are engaged day to day. On call 24 hours a day."

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