With much of the United States preparing to celebrate Christmas and 2015 nearing its close, natural gas and other fossil fuels remain cheap and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is again tracking 100 commercial power reactors from day-to-day.
It appears that NRC added the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Watts Bar 2 to its daily “Current Power Reactor Status Report” around Oct. 26.
This was shortly after TVA received its long-sought-after operating license Oct. 22 for Watts Bar 2. TVA subsequently announced on Dec. 14 that it had completed loading the 193 new fuel assemblies into its Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor, marking the first initial core load of a commercial nuclear unit in the United States in nearly two decades.
Watts Bar 2 was still listed at zero power early Dec. 24, indicating that the nuclear plant has yet to actually start commercial operations.
Only two other reactors were listed at zero power early Dec. 24. They were the Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) Prairie Island 2 and STP Nuclear Operating Co. South Texas Project 1 at zero power.
Speaking of the active reactors being tracked by NRC, the number should again drop below 100 in the next couple of years as Entergy (NYSE:ETR) has already announced a couple of nuclear plant retirements.
NYMEX natural gas futures still below $2/mmBtu
Also on Dec. 24, the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) Henry Hub futures price for January delivery of natural gas was listed at $1.98/mmBtu by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The gas futures price is almost $1.19/mmBtu cheaper than it was one year earlier, according to the EIA data.