NEI urges Wall Street to embrace nuclear-energy sector

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The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) called on Wall Street analysts to recognize nuclear energy's value during a briefing on Thursday in New York City, during which NEI representatives noted industry progress, including plant expansions at Plant Vogtle, V.C. Summer and Watts Bar in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, respectively, as well as small modular reactor development.

The NEI stressed to the investment community that nuclear energy plants operating in 30 states generate 63 percent of U.S. carbon-free electricity. In 2015, based on preliminary NEI estimates, they reported record-high level of efficiency -- which translates into economic value -- with an electric sector-leading average capacity factor of nearly 92 percent.

NEI President and CEO Marvin Fertel said electricity-market factors have led to nuclear power plants shutting down, with four more reactors set to be retired in the next few years. Fertel said that over the previous three years, approximately 6,300 megawatts of generation capacity was eliminated from power grids.

“It simply defies logic to shut down carbon-free nuclear plants, each of which employs 600-plus people, and replace them with natural gas plants employing maybe 30 people and whose cost of producing electricity is nearly 60 percent higher,” Fertel said. “Shutting these needed facilities is a major blow to the local economy, both in the loss of jobs and tax revenue, and to the environment.”

Fertel said reaching clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals also will be difficult if further nuclear plants are shut down.

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