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One-Fourth of U.S. Nuclear Plants Are at Risk of Early Retirement

  • Cheap electricity, high fixed costs pressure nuclear fleet
  • Outlook is particularly bleak in Midwest thanks to wind power
Nuclear power cooling tower

Photographer: Guenter Schiffmann/Bloomberg

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More than a quarter of U.S. nuclear power plants don’t make enough money to cover their operating costs, raising the threat of more early retirements.

Of the 66 nuclear power plants operating in the U.S., 24 are either scheduled to close or probably won’t make money through 2021, according Nicholas Steckler, an analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance. These at-risk sites have total generating capacity of 32.5 gigawatts, more than a quarter of the entire fleet, Steckler wrote in a report Tuesday.