Nuclear, Waste Management & Decommissioning

Report Breaks from PJM Interconnection, Says Nuclear Closings Could Harm Resiliency

By Editors of Power Engineering

Though PJM Interconnection just indicated it foresees no problems to the resiliency of its system should four nuclear units operated by FirstEnergy close, a new report by IHS Markit disagrees and indicates significant consequences.

Should nuclear plants in the area shut down as expected, including the three operated by FirstEnergy as well as Three Mile Island and Oyster Creek, IHM Markit predicted PJM’s capacity would become less resilient, especially during extreme weather events.

The report also predicted a nine to 18 percent cost increase for customers, A total decline in consumer annual net benefit from PJM grid-based electricity of $5-12 billion per year and increased carbon emissions.

“The primary finding of this analysis is that the 65 million consumers who rely on PJM grid-based power supply are better off if something is done to prevent the uneconomic closures of PJM nuclear resources because the PJM power supply portfolio is more efficient, more resilient, and environmentally responsible with the continued contribution of cost-effective nuclear resources,” the report concluded.

Additionally, the report noted extreme winter weather events in 2014 caused gas-fired capacity to fall by 27 percent. Assuming all the nuclear assets had already been replaced wholly by natural gas, this winter’s “bomb cyclone” would have lowered available capacity by 5.2 GW.