Wednesday, June 11, 2008

TVA, Chattanooga Economic Choo Choo

Quite a media coup today for the TVA, with an A1 above the fold story in the Chattanooga Times on the nuclear industry's impact on the local economy:

Beyond the temporary plant construction jobs, Tennessee is eager to land new manufacturers to supply the nuclear industry, state Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber said.

“One of the goals that the governor has established for the long-term diversification of our economy is to make the energy industry grow roots in our state and really become as important to Tennessee as our automotive industry over the next decade or two,” Mr. Kisber said.

Already, Alstom Turbo Machines Group is preparing to invest $280 million to make turbines for nuclear plants in one of the old plants once owned by Combustion Engineering. Westinghouse Electric also is planning to buy and renovate an abandoned plant in the Centre South Riverport and add 50 more employees over the next year to expand its nuclear services business.

Alstom, a Swiss-based energy giant, plans to hire 350 workers to supplement its nearby 600-employee Chattanooga plant that makes boiler and tubular components for coal-fired power plants.

“We see that nuclear power is already coming back and will come back even stronger in the United States,” Philippe Joubert, president of Alstom Power Systems, recently told Greenwire, a publication of E&E Publishing.

The editors, eager to show off their multimedia chops, have included in their sidebar material: a sound clip from TVA President Jack Bailey, a PDF detailing the status of new plants in the U.S., and a video of a training exercise in the Watts Bar control room simulator.


gunter said...

TVA alone racked up a $28 billion debt in cost overruns for its nuclear power projects--more evidence that it takes government not markets to venture back into nuclear power construction.

As far as the so-called "comeback" the financial forecasts continue to project construction cost ever higher.

See >>>>>> <<<

onward into the fog...

KenG said...

It must be depressing to always live in the past.

Bill said...

TVA's nuclear construction program was a financial disaster in the 1970's and 1980's, for a variety of reasons. Standardized pre-certified designs and the new COL process should eliminate many of those reasons. TVA is also not trying to build 17 units of at least 4 different types this time around.

Indeed, construction costs are rising due to the increase in commodity costs. This is due to increased demand for raw materials combined with the falling value of the dollar on the world market. These cost concerns apply to pretty much any construction project, not just nuclear power plants. This is briefly mentioned in the Times-Free Press articles, but ignored by the nay-sayers.

As for Gunter's link, I'd like to see the basis for the O&M costs of 18 cents per kWh after paying down the construction costs. I believe that's about a factor of ten higher than current plants.

The mention of LNG as a cost-competitive alternative is also nonsense, as these costs are rising right along with oil. Before long, we'll be sending billions of dollars to Russia every month for LNG, just like we're reliant on Venezuela and the Middle East for oil today.