By Michael Mariotte

As we reported in June, the EIA found that nuclear power wouldn’t help reduce carbon emissions at all under the Clean Power Plan. Instead, it would just inhibit solar deployment. So there’s no rational reason for the EPA to support it.

The final language of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) is supposed to be released next month, which means most of the text (and more importantly, the concepts behind it) is already completed.

But that isn’t stopping industry, and the occasional environmental group, from continuing to press their cases for changes from the draft proposal.

And, more specifically, it isn’t stopping the nuclear power industry from pushing for changes that would benefit new reactors in particular, although it still holds out some fading hope for help for its older, uneconomic and obsolete reactors as well.

As evidence, E&E Publishing Friday published a story headlined White House opens doors to eleventh-hour pleas on Clean Power Plan. Among the bevy of recent visitors pleading their cases were:

*Edison Electric Institute and utility CEOs and representatives from American Electric Power Co. Inc., DTE Energy, Berkshire Hathaway Energy and Duke Energy Corp.

*MJ Bradley & Associates and electric utilities that are members of its Clean Power Plan Initiative, including the CEOs or senior executives of Dominion, National Grid, NextEra, Exelon, PSEG, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and Calpine Corp.

That’s a lot of heavyweight nuclear utilities right there. A bunch of other industry groups got to make their case as well.

For balance, I guess, EPA also heard from a delegation from the Sierra Club.

While the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) so far doesn’t seem to have made it through the doors, its lobbying efforts haven’t ceased. The American Public Power Association (APPA) on Friday published an interview with NEI CEO Marvin Fertel specifically about nuclear power and the Clean Power Plan.

Fertel made clear the nuclear industry is continuing its advocacy efforts, although reading between the lines its efforts may not turn out entirely successful.

When the draft of the CPP came out last year, the industry was outraged that existing reactors weren’t being treated as well as the industry wants. The EPA had come up with a somewhat bizarre formula that nuclear should be rewarded based on the EPA’s concern that six percent of U.S. reactors were thought to be in jeopardy of closing for being uneconomic.

Here is some background on the EPA’s draft plan and the industry’s response. Our own response was that the CPP offered far too much credit for nuclear power and that, as a technology that is in the end counterproductive toward dealing with our climate crisis, nuclear power should be discouraged, not encouraged. Our full comments, filed December 1, 2014 along with supporting materials, are available on this page.

Besides its treatment of existing nukes, the EPA wasn’t planning to give the industry credit for its new reactors under construction in Georgia and South Carolina, as well as the TVA’s completed of Watts Bar in Tennessee.

In the interview, …read more

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