Skip to main content

Spiraling Around Constellation Energy

Constellation CNN reports that Electricite de France is in discussions with Constellation Energy to take over half its nuclear business. Now, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the French have taken an interest in the American nuclear marketplace - they have a lot of experience in making the numbers work, which has been problematic for Constellation - and a lot of experience with nuclear energy. However, there's an interesting wrinkle here - well, actually a couple. Here's the first:

Constellation's board hasn't changed its recommendation to shareholders to vote in favor of the merger with MidAmerican, a unit of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRKA), at a shareholder meeting Dec. 23, according to the release.

That's Warren Buffett's outfit and it represents Buffett's reentry into the nuclear market after his Idaho flirtation. The link to MidAmerican is to their front page - there's a news release about the merger linked from there.

And wrinkle two:

[Electricite de France] already has a 9.5% stake in Constellation and a joint venture with the company, called UniStar Nuclear Energy, established to build and operate nuclear power plants in the U.S.

This new move by EDF represents, if nothing else, a lot of potent players getting into business together and an interesting sign of what industry is thinking about the nuclear market - especially interesting in anticipation of the Obama administration. There's been some fear about the nuclear future under Obama - and some anticipation, too, given the President-elect's desire to move the primary goal of energy policy more decidedly toward carbon reduction. So we'll take leave to wonder what EDF, owned by the French government (mostly - it's been partly privatived), knows that makes this venture a viable move.

There's a lot of activity swirling around Constellation right now, and we can't pretend to guess what happens next. But something will: let's wait and see.

Comments

Anonymous said…
This to me says that Buffet is not so friendly to new nuclear or at least the French flavor of new nuclear. The French would rather trump Buffet on this deal to keep the number of cooks in the kitchen to a minimum.

If the Buffet deal goes forward, then one can assume that the French will get partially hobbled in the US, since they had all of their eggs in the Constellation basket.

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…