Nuclear isn’t dead, according to Morningstar analysts, but cheap natural gas has shuttered some plants and left others at risk “In the last year, U.S. utilities have closed or announced plans to close five nuclear reactors in addition to the canceled development plans,” according to Morningstar’s Utilities Observer report for November, “leading to speculation that prolonged low gas prices could drive more plant closures given the high maintenance capital investment requirements.” “Despite slimmer margins for nuclear operators in a low natural-gas price environment, we think this speculation is unwarranted outside of some select situations.”
But what are those select situations?
Below is a list of operating nuclear plants that Morningstar analysts believe are most exposed to the possibility of closure. The list does not include disabled plants, like Fort Calhoun in Nebraska, that are offline and may never reopen. And it does not include plants already scheduled for closure, like Exelon’s Oyster Creek plant in New Jersey.