PPL Corporation subsidiaries Louisville Gas and Electric (LG&E) and Kentucky Utilities (KU) will build on an earlier assessment of nuclear feasibility at the site of an existing Kentucky coal-fired power plant by exploring additional locations and partnerships that could support nuclear energy in the commonwealth.

The move is part of PPL and its subsidiaries’ ongoing effort to evaluate options for future replacement of aging generation, and to support energy-intensive customers with zero-carbon objectives. 

“We understand that achieving our goal of net-zero carbon emissions will be challenging, and we continue to pursue an all-of-the-above technology strategy to replace aging generation with a cleaner, more diverse energy mix capable of safely, reliably and affordably meeting our customers’ future energy needs and supporting continued economic growth,” said Vincent Sorgi, president and chief executive officer of PPL.

As with earlier feasibility assessments at LG&E and KU’s Ghent Generation Station in Ghent, Kentucky, PPL’s Research and Development team plans to partner with Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN), a U.S. Department of Energy initiative, and nuclear design engineering company X-energy in the next phase of assessments.

“Nuclear energy is a carbon-free solution that has the potential to meet our customers’ needs and support manufacturing and data center growth, particularly if technology such as nuclear small modular reactors (SMRs) become more cost-competitive,” said Sorgi. “These in-depth studies are important to determining whether nuclear energy at our locations may be a viable solution moving forward.”

PPL and GAIN’s prior study at the Ghent facility determined that the site is suitable for a nuclear SMR plant, but would have potential size constraints for a larger traditional nuclear reactor.

Phase two of the study will explore alternative locations and industrial partnerships that could enable energy-intensive customers, including manufacturers and data centers, to achieve their zero-carbon objectives.

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