More Than Half of America’s Nuclear Reactors Are Losing Money
More than half of America’s nuclear reactors are bleeding cash, racking up losses totaling about $2.9 billion a year, based on a Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysis.
Nuclear power plants are getting paid $20 to $30 a megawatt-hour for their electricity, Nicholas Steckler, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in a report Wednesday. Meanwhile, it costs them an average of $35 a megawatt-hour to run. That puts 34 of the nation’s 61 plants out of the money, with almost all of the merchant reactors owned by Exelon Corp., Entergy Corp. and FirstEnergy Corp. appearing to be below break-even, he said.
The report underscores the increasing pressure nuclear power generators are facing even as cheap natural gas and renewable resources encroach on their share of the U.S. power market. States including New York and Illinois are now working to subsidize nuclear plants to keep them generating emissions-free electricity.
For the full Bloomberg New Energy Finance report on money-losing nuclear power plants, click here.
“It’s a real threat to carbon-emission reductions,” Steckler said by phone Wednesday. “How regulators confront this widespread challenge has massive implications.”
Entergy declined to comment on the profitability of its individual plants but said merchant nuclear generators selling power into wholesale markets are facing “financial challenges due to sustained wholesale power price declines and other unfavorable market conditions.” That’s why the company has shifted focus to the regulated utility business, it said in an emailed statement.