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Additional info for Consideration of Early Closure or Continued Operation of a Nuclear Power Plant
Once a power plant reaches a point in its operating lifetime when the condition of any structure, system or component renders the plant no longer serviceable and this cannot be rectified in a normal maintenance outage, then decisions on future operation following an optional refurbishment need to be considered. The options should not be clouded with the assignment of the costs of replacement energy for the period required to undertake the refurbishment. While such replacement energy may be a cost to the utility, such replacement 34 energy would need to be provided for that period whether the decision made were to refurbish or to close and decommission the power plant.
Availability of fuel supply can be a factor in terms of both exhaustion of supply, as when natural gas or oil wells or coal mines are exhausted and alternative supply locations need to be sought, and in terms of fuel cost fluctuations over the lifetime of the alternative generation. In some cases these market fluctuations can be tempered by long term supply contract arrangements which will be honored by the fuel supplier. 30 Long term fuel supply availability can also be significantly impacted by foreign political changes.
Housing market The impact on the housing market of extended operation or early closure can have considerable impact on the mobility of the staff employed at the NPP. There are significant differences between local situations in which housing has been provided on a rental basis, where individual staff have no long term investment in their homes near the NPP, and those situations where staff have built or own their home. Again there are significant differences between local economies which have a significant dependence on the NPP and those which have a more varied economic base in which housing is in significant demand for a much broader range of people than those working at the NPP.