Friday, October 15, 2010

Dead Nuclear Plants Walking?

black Is the expansion of nuclear energy stopped in its tracks in light of Constellation Energy’s withdrawing from the loan guarantee process?

Not so fast. Brain Wheeler at Power-Gen checks in with several companies to see what’s happening. Here’s NRG:

Although many may see the Calvert Cliffs 3 and the South Texas Project (STP) as very similar, [NRG spokesman David] Knox said there are in fact more differences than similarities in the two. He said that by selecting a reactor that has already been built … [in Japan], it decreases the amount of risk when building a nuclear plant. NRG expects to receive a license from NRC in 2012 and said that both planned units at STP would cost roughly $10 billion, total.

What Knox is getting at is that Constellation and NRG’s projects are different enough to result in a different, better OMB [Office of Management and Budget ] score for STP. This may or may not prove to be true – the major argument to be made here is that OMB uses a formula for calculating default risk that is extremely unrealistic – but the desire to move forward remains intact.

And here’s SCANA, with a glance at the Southern Co.:

Like the Southern Co.-led consortium [which received a loan guarantee commitment for its Plant Vogtle project in Georgia], the V.C. Summer expansion is planned in a regulated market. While SCANA is still in the loan application process, the company said a loan guarantee is not absolutely necessary for its new nuclear project. Upon notification from DOE, SCANA said it “will determine if the terms are in the best interest of our customers and our company.”

These are important messages, because you really don’t want to see a narrative like this (from Greenpeace) take hold:

Nuclear power is bad for business, it seems. Renewables on the other hand? After announcing this week that it was investing in ‘in an underwater transmission network that can harvest electricity from wind farms off the Mid-Atlantic coast’ and power ‘nearly two million homes across Virginia, New York and New Jersey’, Google’s share price rose.

You may be sure that stock rises in EDF or falls in Google will not be reported by Greenpeace, as that would demolish their fragile – and silly - edifice. (That transmission network is pretty neat, though, worth more attention.)

Don’t worry! That’s Boris Karloff walking the last mile in Black Friday (1940). He’s sure to come back (alive, dead or undead, makes no difference) and start bumping off the judge, his lawyers, the jury, innocent bystanders and puppies. He’s so misunderstood!

2 comments:

donb said...

...you really don’t want to see a narrative like this (from Greenpeace) take hold:

Nuclear power is bad for business, it seems. Renewables on the other hand? After announcing this week that it was investing in ‘in an underwater transmission network that can harvest electricity from wind farms off the Mid-Atlantic coast’ and power ‘nearly two million homes across Virginia, New York and New Jersey’, Google’s share price rose.


Certainly a new transmission line is a good idea. But there is more going behind the scenes that Greenpeace and Google are not talking about. Rod Adams has an interesting take on the situation in his blog piece Google Planning to Help West Virginia Coal Pretend to be Off-Shore Wind.

gunter said...

Howdy folks,

According to the Atomic Energy Act, EdF losses control of UniStar without a US partner. It looses a foot hold in the United States as well with the loss of the NRC's reference plant.

So the big question--will a new domestic partner take the hot seat?

Must be some explanation why I can tell you that Exelon won't touch this?

Maybe PP&L will jump for another EPR extravaganza which by their year old estimate is $15 billion per unit for a dead-in-the-water Bell Bend project.

Or Dominion? Probably not. Aren't they still thrashing about in a new uncertified design change for their foundering North Anna 3 project?

Still looks more like a relapse than a renaissance to me.