Skip to main content

More At Stake Than Just a Power Uprate

In Vermont, the state is in the midst of a two-day public hearing on whether or not to approve a 20% power uprate for the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Opposition to the uprate is coming from the usual suspects making the same old arguments. Here the conclusion of an editorial from the Vermont Guardian:
Nuclear power makes no sense for a state like Vermont, which has emerged as one of the few places on the planet where this message is being sent. This is the home stretch --— a critical time to speak the truth about power to the powers that be.
What the Guardian doesn't want to tell you is that the uprate is desperately needed in an area of the country that has neglected building new electric generating capacity for some time. That was the conclusion of a report published recently by the New England Energy Alliance, an industry group formed with the goal of countering the sort of NIMBYism advocated by the Guardian. Here's the Hartford Courant:
"Our assessment of the region's resources indicates that we are at a critical point today," said Susan Tierney, a former U.S. Department of Energy policy official who prepared the report for the energy alliance.

"Energy shortages could be acute soon - by 2010 at the latest," she said. With energy projects taking years to permit and build, she said, "it means that policy-makers need to act aggressively now to avoid problems in the future."
Here's Vermont businessman Doug Griswold in the Burlington Free Press:
While it is no secret that consumers and businesses are bracing for high-priced fuel this winter an even more distressing question is arising: Will we have enough and will the lights stay on?

Vermont utilities have warned of possible rolling blackouts this winter. Going forward, prospects are even more distressing. Joseph Kelliher, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently said, "I am concerned that the situation in New England bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the situation facing California in the late 1990s."”

Gordon van Welie, President and CEO of ISO New England the non-profit operator of the regional electrical grid is similarly blunt: "Without new investment, New England could face an energy future much like California's recent past, including frequent power emergencies."
Between 1994 and 2004, American nuclear plants added the functional equivalent of 18, 1,000 megawatt power plants running at a capacity factor of 90 percent to America's electrical grid. Vermont and New England can't wait any longer.

Technorati tags: , , , ,


Anonymous said…
It is a telling fact that those regions that have experienced or are facing electricity shortages are the same ones that have trashed, for no good reason, nuclear plants in the recent past. California and the West Coast have thrown away perfectly good generating capacity at Rancho Seco, Trojan, and SONGS-1. They said they would "replace" the lost capacity with "renewables". We see the result of that: shortages and high prices. The "renewables" couldn't carry the load. Likewise, now the Northeast is facing shortages, or relying on imported energy (sound familiar?) from Canada. This is the home of noted anti-nuclear activists like Michael Dukakis, Mario Cuomo, Edward Markey, and Robert Kennedy Jr. The region has thrown away thousands of megawatts of capacity from Shoreham, Maine Yankee, Connecticut Yankee, and IP1. Well, you reap what you sow. These people need to realize that there are practical consequences to making foolish, short-sighted, and politically expedient decisions.

Popular posts from this blog

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…