This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

September 25, 2002

Updates on Recent "Energy Facts" Stories

This issue marks the last issue for this federal fiscal year (which ends on September 30th), so it seems appropriate to provide some updates on recent stories presented in this section.

In our May 1st edition, we strayed from the renewable energy field to ask if there will be a resurgence of nuclear power in the United States. More recent news suggests that there will be: in June, DOE announced that it will work with three U.S. utilities to evaluate and obtain Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval for sites where new nuclear plants could be built. The utilities are proposing new nuclear plants at three existing nuclear plant sites: the North Anna site in Virginia, the Grand Gulf site in Mississippi, and the Clinton site in Illinois. Old nuclear plants are also coming back to life: in mid-May, the Board of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) approved a plan to upgrade and restart Alabama's Browns Ferry 1 plant, which was shutdown in 1985. The project will cost up to $1.8 billion and require five years to complete. See the TVA press release.

In our July 17th issue, we noted that at the halfway point, the global temperatures for 2002 were the second warmest on record. According to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), that trend continued in July. High temperatures and drought also continued to plague much of the United States in July. See the NCDC Web site.

In that same issue, we noted that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had officially declared that a new El Nino event was occurring and would likely have a weak influence on fall and winter weather patterns. NOAA updated that prediction in mid-September, saying that the El Nino should cause drier-than-average conditions in the Pacific Northwest and mid-Atlantic states during fall, drier-than-average conditions in the northern Rockies and the Ohio Valley states during the winter, wetter-than-average conditions in the southern tier of states during winter, and warmer-than-average conditions in the northern tier of the United States during winter. See the NOAA press release.

Finally, we reported last week that natural gas prices would likely be higher this winter, but that enough natural gas is in storage to prevent any large price spikes. The National Gas Supply Association (NGSA) confirmed that DOE prediction in its own report last week. See the NGSA press release (PDF 137 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.