Exelon in talks to buy Fitzpatrick plant; US, Canada seek closer supply ties

Nuclear power news you need to know.

Exelon eyes takeover of Fitzpatrick plant after New York State pledges support

Exelon has entered into discussions with Entergy Corporation to buy the 852 MW Fitzpatrick Nuclear Plant in New York State and the operator is preparing to invest $200 million in its Nine Mile Point and Ginna nuclear plants, following new support mechanisms published by New York's Department of Public Service.

The New York Public Service Commission approved in January the inclusion of a separate support mechanism for nuclear power plants as part of a Clean Energy Standard (CES).

The details of the support mechanism, published by the Department of Public Service on July 8, show New York State plans to allocate zero carbon credits to generating facilities over a period of 12 years starting from April 2017. A final approval decision will be taken following a public consultation.

"The proposed CES program, if approved, will give us the confidence to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Fitzpatrick in January to refuel the plant and upgrade systems needed to reverse the shutdown decision," Exelon said in a statement.

Entergy said in November it had decided to close its Fitzpatrick plant due to sustained low wholesale energy prices which have been pressured by low gas prices due to shale supplies from the nearby Marcellus formation.

Exelon also plans to invest around $200 million in its 1.8 GW Nine Mile Point and 610 MW Ginna plants in the spring and continue to operate the units, if the support mechanism is approved.

"If the program is not approved, we need to go in a different direction," it said.

New York State hosts six operational nuclear reactors at four sites: Fitzpatrick, Nine Mile Point, Ginna and Indian Point.

US, Canadian firms seek closer ties on new nuclear projects

The U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council (USNIC) and the Organisation of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCI) have agreed to increase cooperation between suppliers on new nuclear plant projects, the trade groups said in a joint statement July 18.

USNIC and OCI have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to identify nuclear project opportunities in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere in the world.

The MoU also promotes collaboration and innovation among U.S. and Canadian suppliers and research organisations "in furthering the development and deployment of advanced reactors and small modular reactors," the groups said.

EC opens probe into French state support for Areva

The European Commission (EC) has opened an in-depth investigation into whether France’s contribution to the financing of Areva's recent restructuring gave the company an unfair advantage according to European Union rules, EC said July 19.

Areva is controlled by the French state and has been experiencing financial difficulties for several years. The French government notified the EC in April 2016 of a restructuring plan which included a public capital injection of 4 billion euros ($4.4 billion).

French state-controlled EDF also agreed to take a controlling stake in Areva's reactor business which includes plant design, supply, construction, maintenance and modernization activities, as well as fuel design and fabrication.

In its investigation, the EC will check the assumptions in Areva’s restructuring plan are realistic and will allow the company to operate without continued injection of public funds. It will also check the company has made a sufficient, real contribution to the cost of its restructuring.

Nuclear Energy Insider