The nuclear industry has faced a host of issues in the past decade that have shrunk its profits.

By JEREMY DILLON

of CQ-Roll Call

WASHINGTON — Beset by low natural gas prices and tax advantages for its competitors, the nuclear power industry is seeking new tax credits to help it find its footing in an increasingly challenging marketplace.

The Nuclear Energy Institute’s newly tapped president and CEO Maria Korsnick said last week the trade association is exploring a proposal for new production or investment tax credits to help “even the playing field” against other power sources.

Korsnick currently serves as NEI’s chief operating officer and will take over as president and CEO at the start of 2017, the association announced earlier this month.

She said the credits could be temporary, helping to sustain the industry until the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates the market for electricity shared by utilities across the electric grid, enacts changes she said would more accurately reflect nuclear’s value as a reliable, low-carbon energy source. Korsnick could not predict when FERC would act.

“The long-term fix will go through FERC policy,” Korsnick said on nuclear market fixes. 

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the Finance Committee’s top Democrat, told CQ Roll Call recently he sees growing momentum for a tax overhaul in the 115th Congress. Such an overhaul could include nuclear power credits.

The nuclear industry has faced a host of issues in the past decade that have shrunk its profits and even caused some plants to shut down over cost concerns.

Among those issues is an influx of cheap natural gas from the U.S. fracking boom and a national energy policy aiding renewable sources like wind and solar. 

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