APR: your source for nuclear news and analysis since April 16, 2010

Friday, August 2, 2013

I take a vacation, and what happens?

I took a brief vacation to spend time with the family.  Of course, the news during that time was rather busy, and not great.

Duke Energy terminates EPC contract for two-unit Levy County, Fla. nuclear plant

License for William States Lee nuclear plant will be delayed due to site redesign

EDF pulls out of CENG, exiting US nuclear power production market

There was, however, a bit of good news.

Exelon - Staying with Nuclear Plants

Georgia Power buys some breathing room on Vogtle cost overruns - for now

It even looks as if some of the good news might extend overseas.

US Export-Import Bank offers to fund large part of Czech nuclear plant expansion

Duke essentially indefinitely postpones Levy County nuclear plant

Now, the first news item is the only one that seems right now to have any sort of immediate impact for the nuclear industry / nuclear renaissance, if we might give that latter an identity.  What Duke did was avoid, almost but not quite at the last minute, the need to actually begin turning over any dirt, or buying any very expensive, long lead-time equipment for the Levy County nuclear plant on its own dime. Since the EPC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction) agreement with Westinghouse originally stipulated (as Duke said in its release) that the plant would be licensed by January 2014, and since the most recent NRC review schedule doesn't even complete the final SER (Safety Evaluation Report) until September of 2014, Duke felt that the schedule had slipped too far... especially considering the hold on licensing while Waste Confidence is held up.  Of course, continued low natural gas pricing and growth in electricity demand below that originally predicted don't help the Levy nuclear plant project, either.  What may have been the deciding factor was the recent change in cost recovery in Florida, that allows the utility to only recover costs associated with licensing before the plant is completed.  This means that Duke would have had to (sooner or later) begin purchasing equipment and begin preparing the site without the chance to recover costs from the ratepayers until the plants were finished.

Duke will continue to pursue the COL (Combined License, allowing construction and operation) but will not actually construct or buy anything; it only will continue to get the already-certified AP1000 design licensed for a two-unit application at the Levy County site.  This allows Duke to at least stay in line, as it were, in the regulatory process (which lately seems to be a problem holding everyone up and more and more often is mentioned in business decisions) and not have to start all over again, especially important since it does believe that nuclear energy has a role to play in the future energy mix.

Other news -- Other blogs!

Here is a blog I would highly recommend.

NuExec Consulting Blog

The very talented ladies behind this blog provide a weekly update with keen insight into the nuclear energy situation in the UK -- which is exceedingly difficult to get a handle on and keep up with using only US-based press.  What they also really add is a human factor that I find refreshing.  The blog posts on Fridays, and is a great way to cap your week.

Here is a very new blog indeed:  Progressives for Nuclear Progress

I must thank Meredith Angwin over at Yes Vermont Yankee for having pointed out this new blog, written by an admitted progressive, Eric Schmitz, who is also an engineer and what we might call an ever-more-well-informed nuclear enthusiast.  His mission is to get 'his side of the aisle' on board with nuclear energy; let's wish him well in his efforts!

There's also a new post at The Breakthrough Institute's site, which has been forwarded to me by Jessica Lovering, that features a number of quite prominent progressive / liberal folks who would like just a moment of your time to make their case for nuclear energy.  Click here to read this post -- which you might find to be a great follow-up to the "Progressives for Nuclear Progress" blog.

People on my side of the aisle should at the very least appreciate the efforts being taken now to get the other side up to speed on nuclear energy's benefits, the real, actual risks, and the incredible safety record of all the many not-normally-newsworthy nuclear plants around the world that run day and night; the previous two links are just a bit of the evidence of this phenomenon. 

Finally for now, the Nuclear Energy Institute has completely redesigned its website, and I intend to spend some time this weekend looking around all of the links and finding the new features.  Click here to see it!

5:10 PM Eastern 8/2/2013

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Thanks for the mention, Will! I am honored, and hope I am up to the challenge. It has been a fun and fascinating process to get to where I am now, and I know it's only beginning.