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Nuclear Utility Moves Up in Credit Ratings, Bank is "Comfortable with Nuclear Strategy"

Some positive signs that nuclear utilities can continue to receive positive ratings even while they finance new nuclear plants for the first time in decades:
Wells Fargo upgrades SCANA to Outperform from Market Perform

Wells analyst says, "YTD, SCG shares have underperformed the Regulated Electrics (total return +2% vs. +9%). Shares trade at 11.3X our 10E EPS, a modest discount to the peer group median of 11.8X. We view the valuation as attractive given a comparatively constructive regulatory environment and potential for above-average long-term EPS growth prospects ... Comfortable with Nuclear Strategy. SCG plans to participate in the development of two regulated nuclear units at a cost of $6.3B, raising legitimate concerns regarding financing and construction. We have carefully considered the risks and are comfortable with SCG’s strategy based on a highly constructive political & regulatory environment, manageable financing needs stretched out over 10 years, strong partnerships and a competitive EPC contract."


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Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.


The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.

What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…