Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Shovel Ready Projects: Investor's Business Daily

Shovel ready projectsThanks to NNN reader Aaron for passing along this Investor's Business Daily editorial from Friday, Shovel-Ready Nukes.

Stimulus: So-called "shovel-ready" infrastructure jobs are said to be the key to economic recovery. But rather than just roads and bridges, between work and home, why not nuke plants to power our lives at both ends?

Amazingly, with all the talk of shoveling money into infrastructure projects, no mention has been made of our energy needs, the jobs that can be created by expanding our energy infrastructure and the jobs that can be created with the additional energy provided.

To be sure, vast sums are planned for alternative energy sources such as wind farms and solar plants, but like the current stimulus packages they will take too long to affect the economy in any significant way.

Nuclear energy is a different matter. This dormant industry is ready for a renaissance. The American public seems to have grown out of the media-induced fear of nuclear power. According to Zogby International, two-thirds of Americans support the construction of nuclear power plants in the U.S.
You can read the entire editorial here.


Anonymous said...

To be fair, none of the proposed new reactors will be certified by the NRC for a few years, so they aren't really shovel-ready either.

D Kosloff said...

Hire more NRC reviewers and put them on three shifts, 24/7.

D Kosloff said...

Bellefonte is shovel ready.

Arvid said...

What Kosloff said, plus cut the red tape.

A good example is Vogtle.

They want to build AP1000's. The AP1000 is already aproved. The Vogtle site already house reactors, so obviously the site is not a problem.

So what's the hold-up?

I guess this is just an example of the horribly slow and inefficient American bureaucracy visiting Europeans have come to dread.

France was struck by the energy crisis in 1973. By 1974 they had chosen how to act.

The first reactors of this program (Bugey 2-3) went online in... 1979. In 1985, eleven years after the go!-signal, 34 new reactors were online. Multiply this number by 5 to get the US equivalent.

:: ::

Yes, that's 170.

Matthew66 said...

D Kosloff and Arvid, unfortunately, Bellefonte 3 and 4 are not shovel ready - the NRC will need until 2010 to complete the review the amendments proposed by Westinghouse and NuStart to the AP1000 Design Control Document. TVA announced last year that it would like the NRC to reinstate the construction permits for Bellefonte 1 and 2, even if the NRC does this, the planning process for completing those reactors will take some time Watts Bar 2 is probably as close to shovel ready as there is at this stage.

I don't think it is in anyone's interests to be seen to be advocating short circuiting the NRC approval process. While I personally think that some of the public hearings could be dispensed with, we have to live within the rules that Congress has established. If you don't like those rules, develop a case and present it to Congress and lobby for change.

Joffan said...


Clearly there is a right level of approval oversight, that may be different for different cases.

Given this self-evident truth, it is also clearly possible for the mandated oversight of the approvals process to be either counterproductively insufficient or counterproductively overzealous.

Aladar said...

Talk about the possibility of a new Chernobyl.



Matthew66 said...

I would agree that the regulation developed in the late 1970's and 1980's was overzealously counterproductive. The current legislation is meant to temper that somewhat, however, when compared to the oversight of the coal, wind, natural gas, oil and chemical industries, it is overkill. The political reality is that no congress person is going to support reducing the current level of oversight until new reactors are built and have several years of safe operation.

Joseph Somsel said...

"Shovel-ready" should be a term applied to proposed plants at existing nuclear sites where the NRC has accepted their application for review. The NRC does an acceptance review of the COLA prior to committing to a review.

If an applicant has submitted a COLA to the NRC for new reactor(s) at an existing site, then they have done the site work required to start the excavation and foundation work. Environmental review should hold no surprise.

According to the NRC website, there are 17 such reactors. Several are for certified designs.

BTW, Investors Business Daily seems to have been stimulated by my article that appeared that morning:


Anonymous said...

While short-circuiting the NRC mightn't be good for PR reasons, there is another alternative.

Create a national nuclear utility, much like Vattenfall or EdF.

With a centralised national programme, backed by the full faith and credit of the US government, it will be possible to build a vast number of reactors really fast.

You guys already have the success story of TVA, and the reluctance of having state owned corporations seems to be dwindling really fast.

If you really insist, the company could be privatised or split up or something 20 years down the line.


Aladar said...

The national corporation and a massive nuclear power buildup is a good solution for the economic crysis as well.

However, the RBMKs in Russia have to be fased out in order to avoid another Chernobyl.

for the reasons.

Joseph Somsel said...

On further review, there are 12 reactors proposed at existing nuclear sites that have referenced certified reactor designs. That means the NRC has already approved the site, at least for the current reactors) and that the NRC has already approved the reactor plant design.

The twelve reactors are: STP, Turkey Point, Harris, Summer, Vogtle, and Levy. One could quibble about Levy since the new reactors are just up the coast from Crystal River and not EXACTLY on the same site. However, the geology and site environments are pretty constant in that part of the country.

Personally, I recommend contacting the senators in those states to point this out.