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

Old Alaska Gas Pipeline Plan May Get New Life

LCG, Nov. 19, 2001--A 25-year-old plan to build a natural gas pipeline to carry Alaskan North Slope gas to the lower 48 took on new life last week when nine energy companies announced they have agreed to come together to settle a financial problem and pitch a business plan to North Slope natural gas owners, the Anchorage Daily News reported Friday.

The companies or their predecessors were in a partnership that in 1977 won rights to build a pipeline along the highway to bring North Slope gas to market. The companies, led by Foothills, invested hundreds of millions but dropped out when gas prices fell in the 1980s, leaving only developer Foothills Pipe Lines and its two Canadian owners, TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. and Westcoast Energy Inc.

The prospect that the companies that had bowed out of the deal might want their money back -- with interest, it has grown to $4 billion and is referred to as the "meatball" -- has deterred meaningful progress on the pipeline.

Dennis McConaghy, an executive of Foothills who announced last week's agreement, said the companies are committed to removing all barriers to the project, which would follow the Alaska Highway.

Thursday's memorandum of understanding among The Williams Cos., Duke Energy Corp., Sempra Energy International Inc., Enron Corp., PG&E Corp., El Paso Corp., Westcoast Energy and TransCanada does not resolve the liability issue, but it provides a framework to settle the claims and re-form the Foothills partnership if the companies choose.

"Let me put it this way," McConaghy said. "We're prepared to take the $4 billion number off the table as part of a commercial settlement with the producers if that's what it takes."

In the meantime, the agreement allows the companies to jointly develop a business proposal and present it to the gas producers early next year, he added.

The biggest hurdle facing the pipeline is cost. The owners of the North Slope concessions -- BP, Exxon Mobil and Phillips -- doubt that the pipeline can be built cheaply enough to allow the gas that comes out the lower end to be sold competitively.

John Shively, an advisor to Foothills, thinks it can be done. "We are a group of gas transportation companies. Some savings can be achieved. This is what we do," he said.

And the producers at the north Slope aren't entirely [pessimistic. "Our goal is to create and identify an economic project," spokesman Dave MacDowell said. "If this can get us there, we're delighted."

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