America’s nuclear energy facilities are launching a multiyear initiative to safely generate the electricity that the nation uses more efficiently and economically. Named “Delivering the Nuclear Promise: Advancing Safety, Reliability and Economic Performance”, the initiative was announced recently by the Nuclear Energy Institute, which is coordinating the multifaceted effort along with member electric utilities, the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).
As part of the initiative, the industry will work together to analyze cost drivers common to all nuclear power plants and recommend programs and processes to improve their efficiency and effectiveness. The goal is to provide companies with innovative solutions that enable a significant reduction in operating expenses by 2018.
“We want to encourage bold ideas, not just tweak current processes,” NEI Chief Operating Officer Maria Korsnick said. “We are operating in markets with a glut of natural gas at historically low prices, concurrent with low growth in electricity demand nationally. We are seeking to redesign fundamental plant processes to significantly improve operational efficiencies and effectiveness, and in the process make nuclear energy facilities more economically viable.”
“This is an initiative that the industry should undertake even if natural gas prices weren’t at historical lows as they are today,” Korsnick said. “Low natural gas prices make this mission more urgent for some at-risk facilities, but this initiative is more encompassing than that.”
A ‘business as usual’ approach will not successfully address the challenges of rising costs and inadequate revenue for our reactors,” she added. “Part of this effort will be aimed at gaining full recognition in electricity pricing for the value of nuclear energy in electricity markets and as a uniquely reliable source for meeting environmental requirements, such as the Clean Power Plan.