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ISO-NE Capacity Auction Includes New Resources to Provide Grid Reliability in 2019-2020

LCG, February 12, 2016--ISO New England (ISO-NE) yesterday announced results from its annual capacity auction that show sufficient resources to meet electric demand in 2019-2020 at a lower price, and including over 1,400 MW of new electric generating capacity. The new capacity is needed to compensate for recently retired and retiring generators that total over 4,200 MW by 2019. The retirements include the non-carbon emitting, 680-MW Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. ISO-NE uses the auction to procure future resources to meet forecast demand three years in the future.

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U.S. Supreme Court Halts the EPA's Clean Power Plan

LCG, February 10, 2016--The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, put a hold on the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan (CPP), a regulation designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 32 percent by 2030. Those opposed to the CPP say the agency is acting beyond its authority and interfering with states? rights.

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Industry News

NRC Approves Rule to Amend AP1000 Nuclear Reactor Design

LCG, December 26, 2011--The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Wednesday voted to approve a rule that certifies an amended version of Westinghouse's AP1000 reactor design for use in the United States. NRC certification, in the form of a final rule, means the design meets the NRC's applicable safety requirements.

The NRC will make the rule immediately effective once it is published in the Federal Register, which is expected to be published within seven business days of the vote. The application to amend the 1,100-MW, electric pressurized-water reactor with passive safety features was submitted by Westinghouse on May 27, 2007.

NRC Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko stated, "The Commission is able to reach this final step in approving the amended AP1000 reactor design due to the staff?s dedicated work ensuring the design meets NRC's safety requirements. The design provides enhanced safety margins through use of simplified, inherent, passive, or other innovative safety and security functions, and also has been assessed to ensure it could withstand damage from an aircraft impact without significant release of radioactive materials."

The NRC received the original AP1000 plant design from Westinghouse back in March 2002, and the NRC issued a rule certifying the design on January 27, 2006.

The NRC is now reviewing six Combined Construction and Operating License (COL) applications that reference the amended AP1000 design. Southern Company, one of the leading applicants, is developing two AP1000 reactors at Plant Vogtle in Georgia. Southern Nuclear, a Southern Company subsidiary that operates Plant Vogtle's two existing nuclear units, is overseeing construction on the $14 billion project. Southern Nuclear is working under a Limited Work Authorization permit (since 2009) that allows for certain safety-related construction activities. Southern Nuclear will also operate the two new units. Southern expects commercial operations of the two new nuclear units to commence in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

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