The math is simple—the U.S. nuclear power fleet is poised to retire more plants than build new ones.
A New Jersey plant owned by Exelon is scheduled to close by the end of the decade, with approximately eight additional merchant units totaling 6.3 gigawatts also at risk of early retirement, the rating service added.
By comparison, only five units are under construction, while 73 of the 99 units in operation already are operating beyond their original 40-year operating licenses, thanks to new 20-year permits, Fitch said.
Those are among the reasons that the Energy Information Administration has forecast a drop-off of 10,800 megawatts in the nation’s nuclear electric generation by 2020.
“In our view this number could grow if more plant operators find upgrades and local political pressure too costly to continue operations,” Fitch said.
Read more at Fitch: Hazy Outlook for U.S. Nuclear Power