Biden looks to revive old nuclear plants
The Biden administration this morning announced it's offering as much as $1.2 billion to keep aging nuclear power plants online, and even to revive one that recently closed.
Why it matters: Nuclear power is the largest firm source of zero-emissions electricity in the U.S. Many of those plants are old and increasingly expensive to run.
Driving the news: The Department of Energy is providing funds for plants at risk of closing in the next few years, Reuters reported.
- The money comes from a $6 billion Civil Nuclear Credit program established in the 2021 infrastructure law.
- Applications are open through May 31.
The intrigue: Plants that stopped operating after Nov. 15, 2021, are also eligible.
- That enables the Palisades plant in Michigan, which had a funding application rejected late last year, to apply for the funds.
- The ~800 MW plant closed last May when owner Entergy discovered a leak in the coolant system.
Be smart: The U.S. has never reopened a nuclear plant that's been permanently de-fueled, per Reuters and the Detroit News.
- The idea has gained traction as some states and localities have recently faced energy crises while also struggling to achieve ambitious decarbonization goals.
Context: About a dozen nuclear reactors in the U.S. have closed since 2013. There are 92 still operating.
- The average age of the country's nuclear fleet is about 40 years old.
- The oldest operating reactor is Nine Mile Point Unit 1 in New York, which entered commercial operation in December 1969.