Skip to main content

“I think nuclear will have to be an option.”

Southern Co. has not had a bad time putting up two new reactors at its Plant Vogtle site in Georgia, so maybe they can do a little more of that (behind a pay wall, though you can join for the day for 99 cents – though your email will never see the end of solicitations):

The company — convinced natural gas and alternative fuels will not satisfy future demand — is already considering whether to start the process toward another, post-Vogtle nuclear project, a top executive says.

“I can tell you that we want to keep nuclear as an option on the table, so don’t be surprised if we start a licensing process to keep that option alive,” President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Bowers said in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “(It’s) a 10-year, 10-to 12-year process to build. So keeping it alive, I think we have to keep that in consideration.”

Bowers says the idea would be to consider new build after determining Georgia’s electricity needs in 2025. But what about renewables. Meet the knights who say Niche:

The falling cost of solar makes it a more viable resource, but the utility and its parent, Atlanta-based Southern Co., say renewables will remain a “niche” in the Southeast for now.
“If you’re going to take coal out of the mix, then you’re left with two options for diversity: that’s nuclear and natural gas,” said Chuck Eaton, chairman of the Georgia Public Service Commission. “We’re expecting the economy to get better … there will be more demand on the grid, (so) I think nuclear will have to be an option.”

Kristi Swartz’s story does not expand on why Southern Co. considers renewables a niche, but Southern Co. Chairman, President and CEO Thomas Fanning certainly has done so:

Fanning said renewable sources of energy like wind and solar tend to be available in sparsely populated areas, requiring expensive transmission lines to distribute the electricity.

Renewables rely heavily on federal tax credits, making the industry vulnerable if those go away, he said.

Fanning said renewable energy also is intermittent by nature.

“What do you do when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine?” he said.

He does say, though, that renewable energy could become more economical – or more stably economic - over the next decade and, then, maybe. And it looks like Southern Co. and Georgia Power are pacted with Ted Turner on some renewable projects, so there’s that.

Comments

trag said…
So there's what? You make it sound like a good thing. Mark, are you writing a pro-nuclear blog, or just cheer leading for the wind and solar crowd?

Popular posts from this blog

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…