President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team asked the Energy Department how it can help keep nuclear reactors “operating as part of the nation’s infrastructure” and what it could do to prevent the shutdown of plants. Advisers also asked the agency whether there were statutory restrictions in resuming work on Yucca Mountain, a proposed federal depository for nuclear waste in Nevada that was abandoned by the Obama administration.
Trump plans to aid America’s battered nuclear power generators. Five of the country’s nuclear plants have closed in the past five years, based on Energy Department data.
The closures could undermine efforts to combat climate change as nuclear reactors are the biggest source of zero-emissions power in the U.S. Plant owners including the nation’s largest -- Exelon Corp. -- have sought relief from state policy makers, with New York and Illinois approving millions in annual payments to keep reactors running.
Among a list of questions the Trump team sent to the Energy Department was whether the agency has plans to resume the license proceedings for Yucca Mountain and how it can continue supporting the permitting of small modular reactors, seen as the next generation of nuclear technology. (Bloomberg, 12/8/2016)