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Low natural gas prices impact other energy companies' production decisions

The plummeting cost of natural gas is affecting energy companies' decisions on whether to start new production facilities, and that goes for nuclear energy, too.

Earlier this month, UniStar Nuclear Energy pulled its application to build its third nuclear power plant at Nine Mile Point in Scriba, citing a lack of federal funding as the main problem.

The company sent its withdrawal letter to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on November 26. Neil Sheehan, with the NRC, says UniStar originally applied to build the plant in 2008, but asked the NRC to suspend its application in 2009.

"If you go back to the middle part of the last decade, there was legislation passed by Congress that would allow I think $18 billion in federal loan guarantee money for new reactors. And when the first round of those guaranteed decisions was announced, Nine Mile Point Three was not among the plants chosen."

Sheehan says UniStar's decision doesn't have an immediate impact on the state's six current nuclear power plants.

"At this point, the owners have not indicated any interest other than in continuing to operate those plants. But obviously any impacts from what's going on in the energy market, they bear watching."

Sheehan says if the company wants to renew its effort to build a nuclear power plant in Oswego County, they will have to start again from square one.