Industry executives described the prudent steps energy companies are taking as they consider builidng new nuclear plants in the United States in a briefing for Wall Street analysts today. NEI's press release follows:
Nuclear Energy Expansion Will Proceed Cautiously Over Next Decade, Wall Street Analysts Told
NEW YORK, Feb. 21, 2008—Construction of new nuclear power plants in the United States will ramp up slowly over the next decade as project sponsors exercise caution to effectively manage business risks, nuclear energy industry leaders told Wall Street financial analysts here today.
The industry’s expectations are that four to eight new nuclear plants will be generating electricity by 2016 or so, with a second wave of new power plants under construction as the first group commences commercial operation, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s president and chief executive officer, Frank L. (Skip) Bowman said during a briefing attended by more than 75 analysts.
“The exact number will, of course, depend on many factors – forward prices in electricity markets, capital costs of all baseload electric technologies, commodity costs, environmental compliance costs for fossil-fueled generating capacity, natural gas prices and more,” Bowman said. “The confidence gained by success with the first projects will support the decision-making process for follow-on projects.”
Bowman described new nuclear plant construction as “a risk-management exercise” and said that the industry continues the work that has been under way for the past decade to identify and remove or mitigate the business risks associated with these multi-billion-dollar projects.
“We have mobilized experts in licensing and regulation, financing, construction management, political affairs, public support, supply chain and work force. Seventeen entities developing license applications for up to 31 new reactors did not just happen. It has been carefully planned,” Bowman said.
Five license applications for seven potential new reactors were filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2007, Bowman noted, and another 11 to 15 applications could be filed this year. Progress Energy just two days ago announced the filing of a license application for two possible reactors at its Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant in North Carolina. Click here for the full NEI release.
Click here for a PDF version of today’s briefing.