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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 Pans Pacific Northwest Utility Decisions

LCG, June 23, 2001--A Federal Energy Regulatory Commission administrative law judge has concluded that the high price of electricity in the Pacific Northwest was not the work of nefarious power producers but the result of bad weather and bad decisions by the utilities that paid the high prices.

Seattle City Light, Tacoma Power, the Port of Seattle, the Eugene (Ore.) Water and Electric Board and the North Wasco People's Utility District, blamed the need for the increases on bad weather and market manipulation in the California energy market, and had asked FERC to order refunds.

FERC Judge Carmen Cintron said the utilities could have done much to protect themselves and their customers from the effects of a drought which severely cut back hydroelectric production, but failed to do so.

Instead, she said, they bet unsuccessfully that power prices would be cheaper in the spot market than under long-term contracts they feared would lock them in to higher prices. At the time, spot market prices were lower than those charged by the Bonneville Power Administration under long-term deals.

Seattle City Light dumped 100 megawatts of Bonneville contracts and sold its 80 megawatt interest in the Centralia (Wash.) coal-fired power plant, a decision which left the municipal utility with a projected reserve of just 22 megawatts, or about 1 percent of peak demand. That reserve evaporated when hydroelectric generation in the region dropped by as much as half.

The utilities should be forced to suffer the consequences of decisions like that, Cintron said.

Cintron wrote "if the position of the refund claimants is accepted, they would be relieved of the consequences of their conscious economic decisions at the expense of a functioning competitive markets in which a vast majority of the purchasers during this period accepted responsibility for the choices they made."

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