Out of the 66 nuclear plants currently operating in the U.S., 24 are either scheduled to shut down or likely won’t make a profit through 2021, according to a Bloomberg report. With a total generating capacity of 32.5 gigawatts, these at-risk plants make up over a quarter of the entire nuclear fleet. The price tag to keep these sites out of the red would be high, costing taxpayers around $1.3 billion annually.
The study highlights the struggle of the U.S. nuclear industry, which has been hit with stiff competition from natural gas and a growing renewable energy sector. Numerous state governments — such as New Jersey, New York and Illinois — have bailed out struggling nuclear plants in an effort to save jobs and keep the emissions-free generation nuclear reactors provide. Other unprofitable reactors have turned to the federal government for help. FirstEnergy, which has several nuclear plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania, has requested President Donald Trump’s administration use emergency measures to keep the company’s plants running, or else it faces closure. (RELATED: If Trump Does Nothing, More Nuclear Power Plants Could Shut Down)
The nuclear industry as a whole, however, is in better financial standing. The average U.S. nuclear plant is still expected to churn a profit before taxes, with facilities on the East Coast profiting even more, the report indicated.
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