Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Reasons to Be Thankful

Cornucopia-Print-C10353551[2] Shall Canada be thankful?

The government of Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, announced plans to spend billions of dollars more on nuclear reactors, wind and solar projects and to eliminate coal plants by 2014.

This is consequential, as the story notes that Ontario generates a third of Canada’s electricity (largely, I guess, because it holds a third of the country’s population.)

Nuclear energy is to receive the largest chunk of capital spending at C$33 billion, followed by C$14 billion for wind power, C$9 billion for solar power and C$4.6 billion for hydro- electricity. The plan also marked C$12 billion for conservation, C$9 billion for transmission lines, C$4 billion for biomass, and C$1.88 billion for natural gas.

The goal here is to keep nuclear energy generation stable at about 50 percent of the total – Ontario has 10 plants currently and will increase to 12 under the plan - with renewable energy picking up for fossil fuels. The end result: the plan fulfills “the government’s pledge to eliminate 6.4 gigawatts of coal power in four years”.

Now, to be fair, this plan sets idealistic goals and the target for nuclear energy appears to depend on factors that will need to be resolved:

But as [Provincial Energy Minister Brad] Duguid acknowledged about the new nuclear plants, he’s not even sure whether the preferred buyer – Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. – will be around in its current form to make a sale.

The federal government has put it up for sale, and some buyers may not be interested in new construction.

But of course, they might well be interested. It just isn’t known yet – Ontario is signaling what it wants to happen and will help to have happen and that may be determinative in who buys the company and how it proceeds. So there are wait-and-see factors.

You can read more about the plan here.

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Shall China be thankful?

The China Nuclear Energy Association has recommended the government adopt a 2020 target of 70 gigawatts of nuclear power capacity, but companies in the sector are pushing for more, association Vice-Chairman Zhao Chenkun told Reuters on Wednesday.

And that’s about all I could find about this. Many may well consider it enough, but I’ll follow up when more emerges.

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And say, what about the United States?

U.S. nuclear production rose to a seven-week high on output gains at Progress Energy Inc.’s Robinson 2 reactor in South Carolina and Entergy Corp.’s FitzPatrick plant in New York, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission report today showed.

Output from U.S. plants since Nov. 19 increased by 2,619 megawatts, or 3 percent, to 89,310 megawatts, or 88 percent of capacity, according to the report from the NRC and data compiled by Bloomberg. Twelve of 104 plants are offline.

Bloomburg provides a list of plants. Here’s a taste:

Exelon Corp. boosted its 1,112-megawatt Peach Bottom 3 reactor in Pennsylvania to 95 percent of capacity from 1 percent on Nov. 19 after crews replaced one of the unit’s transformers.

Peach Bottom 2, another unit at the plant located about 18 miles south of Lancaster, is at full capacity.

Southern Co. raised output at its 851-megawatt Farley 1 reactor in Alabama to 80 percent of capacity from 30 percent on Nov. 19. Another unit at the site, Farley 2, is operating at full power. The plant is located about 18 miles south of Dothan.

And it goes on like that. No holding back the cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving.

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Travel safely, eat plentifully, appreciate your loved ones gratefully. And happy Thanksgiving.

1 comment:

Rod Adams said...

If I was a Canadian, I would be thankful that I was served by leaders who recognize that established nuclear facilities are valuable enough to refurbish rather than destroy.

If I was from Illinois and had paid elevated rates for years to help Commonwealth Edison purchase nuclear power plants, I would be wondering why Exelon was insisting that it would be too expensive to even think about refurbishing Zion since it has proven itself to be fully capable of owning, operating and improving its other nuclear plants.

Reasons to be thankful and reasons to ask questions all at once.