Aging reactors: a failure to plan that will haunt nuclear utilities

The corporations are committed to continuing these boondoggles. They are expensive to operate, and they are expensive to shut down. There are cheaper and safer alternatives in wind and solar


Exelon's aging GE Mark I reactors at Peach Bottom. Photo by Exelon’s aging GE Mark I reactors at Peach Bottom. Photo by

One reason that giant nuclear utilities like Exelon, Entergy, Duke and others are so aggressively taking extraordinary steps to force ratepayers to keep their obsolete, aging reactors operating at any cost is that these utilities have failed to adequately plan for the reality that reactors have a limited operational life and at some point will have to be retired.

The issue is global, it isn’t confined to the U.S., but the ramifications of this failure to plan, or perhaps to accept the reality that no machinery lasts forever–especially not the kind exposed to the tremendous heat and radiation levels that nuclear reactors are–will have its greatest impact in the deregulated states of the U.S. 

Two recent articles on the idea of extending reactor licenses even further than they already have been (and far further than is reasonable from…

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