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Hulking Nuclear Plants Try to Get Nimble in Volatile Power Markets

  • Grids are awash in so much power that prices go negative
  • Reactors were built to run non-stop -- not slam on the brakes
Cheap Gas Threatens To Drive The Infamous Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant Out Of Business
Photographer: Michelle Gustafson/Bloomberg
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Nuclear reactors, the lumbering giants of electricity generation, are trying to become more agile.

Power grids have become so swamped with volatile wind and solar that traditional plants are being forced to abruptly adjust their own output to keep systems stable -- or pay a penalty. That’s prompting reactor owners including Exelon Corp. and Duke Energy Corp. to develop ways to tap the brakes on massive plants built to run non-stop.