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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

FERC Judge: No Gas Price Manipulation by El Paso,But Standards of Conduct were 'Clearly . Violated'

LCG, Oct. 10, 2001--The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's top judge ruled yesterday that El Paso Corp. did not manipulate gas prices on its pipelines into California last year, but found the company guilty of affiliate abuse.

At issue was whether El Paso Corp. had conspired with its affiliates, El Paso Merchant and Mojave Pipeline, to drive up natural gas prices in California. The California Public Utility Commission, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., and Southern California Edison Co., claimed El Paso withheld capacity on its pipelines into the state from March through November of last year.

They claimed that the action inflated prices, costing the state $3.7 billion more than would have otherwise been paid for gas.

Administrative Law Judge Curtis Wagner did not find evidence of such manipulation. "While El Paso Pipeline and El Paso Merchant had the ability to exercise market power, there was not a clear showing that they had in fact done so," he said.

But Wagner said transcripts of telephone conversations in February of last year showed clear violation of FERC standards of conduct, which say a pipeline operator must share natural gas transmission information with all shippers and not just its own marketing affiliates.

The standards also require that a pipeline company and its marketing affiliate must maintain "arm's length" separation.

"These telephone transcripts demonstrate blatant collusion on the part of El Paso Merchant and Mojave-El Paso Pipeline to keep secret a discount for service on the downstream Mojave system until the open season ended, giving El Paso Merchant an advantage in making its bid for the total 1,220 million cubic feet per day," Wagner wrote.

The judge said the violation was somewhat mitigated by changing conditions.

"While there are clear violations of the current standards of conduct in this case, those rules were promulgated many years ago and the gas industry has undergone tremendous changes since then with merger after merger creating large holding companies, such as the El Paso Corp., and very different methods of doing business than in bygone years," he wrote.

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