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

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…