"How profitable is the nuclear segment? It's not very. Entergy's nuclear portfolio doesn't generate a lot of cash," said Dumoulin-Smith.

"Notably, we believe both its NY Fitzpatrick and Vermont Yankee plants are at risk of retirement given their small size," stated the report.

Other relatively small sized, single unit, "merchant" reactors owned/operated by Entergy include the problem-plagued Palisades in Michigan, and Pilgrim in Massachusetts.

Dominion Nuclear's recently announced plan to close its small, old, single unit Kewaunee atomic reactor in Wisconsin, due to "economic reasons," has led to widespread speculation about the next domino to fall. A Dominion spokesman let slip that the utility was no longer able to afford needed major safety repairs at the four decade old reactor, deep into its "break-down phase" (see "Bathtub Curve of Nuclear Accidents," referring to the graph's shape, above left, compliments of David Lochbaum, Nuclear Safety Project Director, Union of Concerned Scientists).

Kewaunee's announced closure, and the rumors at VY and FitzPatrick, comes despite the fact that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has rubberstamped 20-year license extensions at the four decade old reactors.