Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Dominion CEO Throws Down the Gauntlet

Tom Farrell appeared on CNBC's Squawk Box yesterday and said Dominion is "trying very hard" to build North Anna Unit 3.

That alone was enough for me to gleefully revise my personal talking points on the subject but there was more.

"I think our plant will be the first to come on line in more than 30 years." Asked when that would be, Farrell said 2016.


A related article is in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.


Anonymous said...

It will obviously be beaten by Watts Bar II, but still a good goal!

Matthew B said...

Somehow I expect NRG to beat them with South Texas. The ABWR has already been built and is already approved. No first of a kind issues should crop up with the ABWR, but there's sure to be hiccups in building the first ESBWR.

But nonetheless, it's sure nice to see a utility head this bullish on nuclear.

Joseph Somsel said...

The STP 3 and 4 ABWR was the first to submit a complete application. If Dominion's choice remains an ESBWR, than I'd put my money on STP being first to fuel load and first to commercial operation.

Nothing like a bit of a horse race to stir the competitive juices!

Lisa Stiles said...

I'll be doing my happy dance when the first new unit goes online no matter where it is. However, I do have to interject that the ABWR that is certified by the NRC is NOT the same design as the one NRG is proposing. Reconciling the two designs is taking quite a bit of analysis and will take long enough that I believe any time advantage will be small.

Plus, take a look at the NRC's application review schedules for
NAPS 3 and STP 3 and 4. NAPS 3 is clearly ahead in obtaining a COL and I think that will trump any small advantage in design certification.

Regardless, I'd pay money to watch CEOs jockey for position on who is going to be first!


Anonymous said...

I agree with Lisa on STP 3/4. Had NRG stuck with GE-Hitachi on their ABWR project, they would have had a perfect shot at being first. Shifting to Toshiba has really inserted a monkey wrench into the Licensing machine. The NRC has suspended review of the safety case, and they are pending a revised submittal from NRG / Toshiba / NINA. I am sure that the GE-Hitachi lawyers will be following Toshiba's actions closely to ensure that intellectual and proprietary rights are not violated in the process.

With respect to the ESBWR, it has an earlier scheduled DCD completion date than the revised AP1000, the EPR, and the APWR. Dominion has a COL approval date (pre-hearing) of August 2010 also. They have an early site permit approval in hand already. They are ahead of all comers. Dominion is agressively moving forward. I like the Dominion horse at this stage.

Anonymous said...

Well IMO after Watts Bar 2 comes online in 2011/2012 its gonna be a total crap shoot what comes next. We really don't have a clue the sorts of issues that might come up in the next 8 years which could delay the other plants. Hell, even Watts Bar 2 doesn't have an operating license and its construction license is about to run out, so even that's no sure thing.

Donnie said...

NRC ratcheting is a big wild card in all of this.

Anonymous said...

Guys, don't forget that Global Nuclear Fuels is a consortium of GE, Hitachi and Toshiba.

So it's not a long leap for Toshiba to do a deal with GE-Hitachi on ABWR.

It's interesting: Toshiba owns Westinghouse and its PWR, but is already partnered with GE for BWR fuel.

When push comes to shove, I'll wager a deal will be made and that deal will enrich the CEOs all around. Hopefully it'll also mean new nukes.

Matthew B said...

However, I do have to interject that the ABWR that is certified by the NRC is NOT the same design as the one NRG is proposing.

Wow, obviously I didn't know that. What's the story behind this choice?

With no other takers so far, it looks like NRG may have orphan units.

Matthew B said...

Since we've got knowledgeable people making horse race bets now, where do some of you come down on the race between the ESBWR and AP1000 units?

Bellefonte looks to be around +/- 1 month compared to North Anna for most milestones, and Shearon Harris is a few months behind.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that the ESBWR design is lagging very much behind its regulatory process. I've heard that it's been plagued by delays. You can't get approval to build and operate something that isn't finalized under the new system (at least that's my understanding).

AP1000 design is at least 18-24 months ahead of ESBWR. Hundreds of millions in contracts have been signed by SCANA and Southern Company for long-lead procurement and engineering. And COL applications were filed at around the same time.

I know where I would put my money in this horse race.

Anonymous said...

Bellefonte looks to be around +/- 1 month compared to North Anna for most milestones, and Shearon Harris is a few months behind.

The regulatory process is so close that it is irrelevant who gets their COL first.

The bottom line for AP1000 is: who has ponied up the money, and therefore, who will be ready to build like crazy once they get the go ahead?

SCANA and Southern Company have, TVA hasn't. Bellefonte 3 & 4 will come online after Vogtle and Sumner 3 & 4.

GE-Hitachi aren't ready with their design yet; you can't order long-lead components that don't have finalized designs.

Anonymous said...

Well, the first AP1000s will come online in China first, so that should provide some experience for the ones being built in the USA. As for Bellefonte, that's the one that's gonna be making waves soon and not in the way people here are expecting ;).

Lutheran Lucciola said...

Just found your blog, and like it. You have a good link list for energy blogs!
Thank You,

Anonymous said...

TVA recently requested from the NRC a 3-year extension of the Watts Bar-2 construction permit, if that changes the wagering board!

Joseph Somsel said...

I drafted a long reply but thought better of it. I'm too much in the middle of what are sensitive commercial and technical issues between GE, Hitachi, Toshiba, and their prospective clients.

Rod Adams said...

I like to swing for the fences and often bet on long shots.

My bet remains that Amarillo Power will surprise most observers in the nuclear world by earning at least a "show" in the race.

Though George Chapman still has to go through an NRC process, he does not have any issues with a board of directors or a Public Utility Commission.

I also think he has a very well connected friend named T. Boone Pickens.

Just reading tea leaves and injecting some free enterprise thinking.

Matthew66 said...

I would like to add my two cents worth. From my studies in management accounting at both undergraduate and graduate level, I have come to the conclusion that Japanese companies are more inclined than US companies to collaborate with their competitors to ensure that all parties operate profitably. So, if Toshiba and Hitachi have anything to do with it, the ABWR will probably get through the licensing process reasonably smoothly. The only spanner in the works is likely to be the century old rivalry between General Electric and Westinghouse, which goes all the way back to the war of the currents between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse.

Anonymous said...

matthew66 - I'm not sure just what your comment means, but I can assure you Toshiba will not allow themselves to be wagged by their Westinghouse tail

Matthew66 said...

Sorry for being opaque. My thinking is that Toshiba (including its Westinghouse subsidiary) and Hitachi would cooperate to get the project approved, but that the level of inter-corporate cooperation this entails might prove a significant challenge to GE's corporate culture.

Anonymous said...

Sorry matthew66, I misread your previous post. I don't know much about GE.

Anonymous said...

That's funny. Long lead components have already been ordered to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars for the first four ESBWR reactors. You do not have to have the full detailed design done in order to know what the vessel and turbine will look like.

Regarding DCD approval dates, the current NRC data states early 2010 for the ESBWR and early 2011 for the AP1000. North Anna also has an ESP in hand, and no AP1000 buyers have this stamp of approval.

Bellefonte is not pushing to be first in construction. TVA is much more concerned in the near term about getting Watts Bar 2 rolling.