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The Brattle Group combines extensive nuclear experience with a deep understanding of power markets to assist clients facing questions regarding their nuclear assets.

We help clients understand and prepare for the impacts of climate policy proposals; the economic and environmental contributions of nuclear power; how natural gas, carbon, renewables, capacity markets, and other factors can affect nuclear revenues and value; damages in the context of contract disputes; asset strategies for output or shared ownership contracting, relicensing, and capital budgeting; nuclear transactions, including valuation, financial structuring, and risk analysis; and spent nuclear fuel storage issues.

NEWS

Brattle Principals Dean Murphy and Mark Berkman have authored a report that estimates the environmental and electricity price impacts of the announced retirements of four nuclear plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Engagements
REPRESENTATIVE ENGAGEMENTS

Below is a list of representative engagements for our Nuclear practice.

Nuclear's contribution to the economy and environment

The Brattle Group has evaluated the contributions of financially threatened nuclear plants in several states – New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio – to the economies of those states, as well as their environmental impact, both local and regional, in terms of carbon and other pollutants. These studies used power sector simulation models in combination with dynamic input-output modeling of the states’ economies, and often found that the primary economic effect of nuclear plants was that they keep power prices lower than they would otherwise be. This reduces what consumers pay for all their electricity, not just the nuclear output itself. These savings, because they are significant and widespread, give a substantial boost to the state economy overall through multiplier effects on disposable income and employment. An earlier report looked at the effect of the entire U.S. nuclear industry on the national economy.

Damages analysis for the failure of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station

Following the 2012 failure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s (SONGS) replacement steam generators, Brattle was retained to estimate damages from the delay or possible inability to repair and restore the plant. Our approach involved the use of two power price forecasting models, Xpand, for long-run capacity replacement, and PSO, for local congestion price premiums in the Los Angeles area most affected by the outage. These were used to estimate expected power prices and greenhouse gas (GHG) prices in California through 2050. The GHG component of the model included costs of carbon mitigation from both the power sector and the commercial and transportation sectors of the California economy. Results were accurately benchmarked against historical unit dispatch and near-term forward prices for power. Alternative repair scenarios were evaluated and uncertainty surrounding long-term plant viability was captured with an options framework to simulate plant operations under range of likely market fundamentals.

Economic benefits of reorganization
For an electric utility seeking to divest a nuclear plant, Brattle presented testimony on the economic benefits likely to ensue from a proposed reorganization. The plant was to be spun off to a jointly-owned subsidiary that would sell available energy back to the original owner under a contract indexed to industry unit cost experience. This proposal afforded considerable risk reduction for ratepayers in exchange for a reasonable, but uncertain, prospect of profits for new investors. The testimony compared the incentive benefits and potential conflicts under this arrangement to the outcomes foreseeable from more conventional incentive ratemaking arrangements to share future performance risks between ratepayers and shareholders without the reorganization.
Spent nuclear fuel damages

In a number of different litigation cases involving 14 nuclear reactors at 11 plants, The Brattle Group has provided testimony regarding the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) failure to initiate a spent nuclear fuel removal program for U.S. nuclear plants, as was required by federal statute, but proved to be infeasible.  Brattle witnesses characterized how the government should and would have carried out its contractual obligations, by developing a model for simulating a nationwide market for the exchange of spent fuel removal rights, as was enabled by the federal policies for waste management. This framework allowed them to determine the economically-reasonable expectation for the amount and timing of spent fuel removal from each individual plant in the non-breach world.  The results were used successfully to support the damage claims of the client nuclear owners for ongoing spent fuel storage costs that would have been unnecessary if the DOE had performed its contract obligations.

Nuclear investment project and portfolio risk analysis
For the city of San Antonio, Texas, members of The Brattle Group analyzed the project and portfolio risk associated with possibly taking a share of a several billion dollar investment in a nuclear power plant (units 3&4 of the South Texas Project 3&4). We estimated the plant’s value and risks in comparison to other generation technologies, taking into account potential changes in natural gas prices, carbon prices, and possible construction cost escalation. We assessed possible economic considerations that would affect the level and volatility of future natural gas prices, as well as the associated revenue streams for both nuclear and gas-fired power plants. We reviewed the nuclear plant’s Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contract in order to assess construction cost risk, and assisted in the formulation of alternative financing structures for investing in the power plant, as well as possible alternative contracting mechanisms for selling portions of the plant’s output.
Economic and environmental impacts of nuclear power plants

Brattle experts have prepared a series of reports examining the economic and environmental impacts of nuclear power plants at both the national and state-specific levels. The economic impacts included GDP, employment and tax revenues, and the environmental impacts which addressed changes in criteria pollutant emissions and carbon emissions. The study prepared for New York has been particularly influential in policymaking regarding the promotion of zero carbon emission generating sources. Brattle has also applied such regional modeling to determine the value and market consequences of Zero Emission Credits (ZECs) as uplift payments for nuclear plants to preserve their societal value as clean resources.

Experts
Publications
Report
The Cost of Preventing Baseload Retirements: A Preliminary Examination of the DOE Memorandum
July 19, 2018
Funded by Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), American Petroleum Institute (API), American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Electricity Consumers Resource Council (ELCON), Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA), and Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA)

The report estimates the cost of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) proposed draft memorandum plan to support uneconomic coal and nuclear plants across the country.

Report
Nuclear Impact on NOx Emissions in Designated EPA Ozone Nonattainment Areas
May 2018
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.
Report
Impacts of Announced Nuclear Retirements in Ohio and Pennsylvania
April 16, 2018
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.

The report estimates the environmental and electricity price impacts of the announced retirements of four nuclear plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Report
Comment on Acadian Consulting Group's "Report on Nuclear Portion of Senate Bill 877"
February 13, 2018
Prepared for PSEG and Exelon
Report
Salem and Hope Creek Nuclear Power Plants' Contribution to the New Jersey Economy
November 2017
Prepared for PSEG and Exelon Generation

This report finds that the Salem and Hope Creek nuclear power plants make substantial contributions to the environment, reducing CO2 emissions by 14 million tons annually. They also keep New Jersey power prices lower by $400 million per year, which boosts New Jersey's GDP by $800 million.

Report
Comments on Expanding CES Eligibility to Existing Nuclear Units
November 30, 2017
Onur Aydin, Metin Celebi, David Luke Oates, Tony Lee, and Kelly Oh
Prepared for NextEra Energy Resources, and presented to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection in response to the proposed Clean Energy Standard-Existing (CES-E)

The report evaluates the cost and emission impacts of retaining existing clean generators through a Clean Energy Standard (CES) program.

Article
The Future of the U.S. Coal Generation Fleet
November 30, 2017
Excerpt from the Fall 2017 newsletter for the ABA Antitrust Section, Transportation and Energy Industries Committee

The article analyzes the decline in coal-generated electricity in North America and discusses the implication of a recently proposed U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) rule that could shield certain coal and nuclear plants from competitive market forces.

Article
Efficiency and Nuclear Energy: Complements, not Competitors, for a Low-Carbon Future
August 2017
To be submitted to The Electricity Journal in response to Amory Lovins, “Do Coal and Nuclear Generation Deserve Above-Market Prices?,” The Electricity Journal, July 2017, Vol. 30, Issue 6, Pages 22-30.
Report
Advancing Past "Baseload" to a Flexible Grid: How Grid Planners and Power Markets Are Better Defining System Needs to Achieve a Cost-Effective and Reliable Supply Mix
June 26, 2017
Prepared for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

The report examines why traditional “baseload” power plants, such as coal and nuclear, are becoming less economical, why their ability to produce power continuously is less essential in today’s supply mix, and why operational flexibility is an increasingly important ingredient for a cost-effective supply of electricity.

Report
Ohio Nuclear Power Plants' Contribution to the State Economy
April 25, 2017
Prepared for Nuclear Matters

This report finds that Ohio’s nuclear energy plants will contribute approximately $510 million to the state gross domestic product (GDP) over the next ten years (2018-2027), in addition to other economic and societal benefits.

Report
Preserving Upstate Nuclear Saves New York Consumers Billions, Compared With Additional Renewables Beyond CES Goals
December 08, 2016
Report
Nuclear Retirement Effects on CO2 Emissions: Preserving a Critical Clean Resource
December 2016
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.
Report
Pennsylvania Nuclear Power Plants' Contribution to the State Economy
December 2016
Prepared for Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council, The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, Allegheny Conference on Community Development, and Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce
Report
Electricity Cost and Environmental Effects of Retiring the Quad Cities and Clinton Nuclear Plants
October 2016
Prepared for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association
The report estimates the effects that two Illinois nuclear plants, the Quad Cities and Clinton plants, have on electricity costs to Illinois consumers, and on emissions of CO2 and other pollutants.
Report
New York’s Upstate Nuclear Power Plants’ Contribution to the State Economy
December 2015
Prepared for the New York State IBEW Utility Labor Council, Rochester Building and Construction Trades Council, and the Central and Northern New York Building and Construction Trades Council
Report
The Nuclear Industry’s Contribution to the U.S. Economy
July 07, 2015
Prepared for Nuclear Matters
Presentation
Power Market Prices, Nuclear Generation & Greenhouse Gas Policy
February 04, 2014
Presented at the EUEC 2014 Conference
Report
Centralized Dry Storage of Nuclear Fuel: Lessons for U.S. Policy from Industry Experience and Fukushima
August 2012
Frank C. Graves, Mariko Geronimo Aydin, and Glen A. Graves
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.
News & Knowledge
July 19, 2018
Report by Brattle Economists Assesses Potential Costs Associated with Administration Policy Designed to Prevent the Retirement of All Coal and Nuclear Plants

A report by Brattle economists estimates the cost of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) proposed draft memorandum plan to support uneconomic coal and nuclear plants across the country.

April 16, 2018
Report by Brattle Economists Estimates the Impacts of Nuclear Retirements in Ohio and Pennsylvania

Brattle Principals Dean Murphy and Mark Berkman have authored a report that estimates the environmental and electricity price impacts of the announced retirements of four nuclear plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

December 04, 2017
Brattle Economists Evaluate Impacts of the Salem and Hope Creek Nuclear Power Plants on New Jersey's Economy and Environment

A report by Brattle Principals Mark Berkman and Dean Murphy finds that the Salem and Hope Creek nuclear power plants make substantial contributions to the environment and to the New Jersey economy.

November 30, 2017
Brattle Economists Discuss the Future of U.S. Coal Generation Fleet in ABA Article

Brattle Principals Metin Celebi, Marc Chupka, Dean Murphy, Sam Newell, and Ira Shavel recently co-authored an article that analyzes the decline in coal-generated electricity in North America and discusses the implication of a recently-proposed U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) rule that could shield certain coal and nuclear plants from competitive market forces.

June 26, 2017
Brattle Economists Recommend Moving beyond "Baseload" Generation for Planning and Operating Today's Electric Grid

Brattle economists have released a report explaining how the use of the term “baseload” generation is no longer useful for the purposes of planning and operating today’s electricity system.

April 25, 2017
Report by Brattle Economists Assesses Economic and Carbon Value of Ohio Nuclear Power Plants

A report by Brattle economists finds that Ohio’s nuclear energy plants will contribute approximately $510 million annually to the state GDP over the next ten years (2018-2027), and reduce CO2 emissions by 9 million tons per year, in addition to other economic and societal benefits.

December 19, 2016
Nuclear Retirements Could Lead to Significant Increases in Short- and Long-Term Carbon Emissions, According to Brattle Economists

A whitepaper by Brattle economists finds that the vulnerability of some U.S. nuclear power plants to premature retirement could create a major threat to the attainment of carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction.

April 21, 2016
Report by Brattle Economists Demonstrates Benefits of Keeping Upstate NY Nuclear Power Plants Open

Brattle Principals Mark Berkman and Dean Murphy authored a report released today that reviews the New York State Department of Public Service’s (DPS) findings on the environmental and economic benefits of keeping upstate nuclear power plants open by leveraging the proposed Clean Energy Standards (CES).

December 07, 2015
Report by Brattle Economists Finds Upstate New York's Nuclear Power Plants Contribute Over $3 Billion to State's GDP

A study by Brattle principals Mark Berkman and Dean Murphy finds that Upstate New York’s three nuclear energy power plants contribute approximately $3.16 billion to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP), account for nearly 25,000 full-time jobs (direct and indirect), and provide other significant economic and societal benefits.

July 07, 2015
Report by Brattle Economists Assesses Economic and Carbon Value of Nuclear Plants

A report released by economists at The Brattle Group finds that the United States’ nuclear energy plants contribute $60 billion annually to gross domestic product (GDP), in addition to other economic and societal benefits.