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Old 06-21-2016, 05:24 PM   #181
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Old 06-21-2016, 05:34 PM   #182
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Yeah, sucks to hear, but not surprising.

Even though they were first, California has never had a lot of nuclear power capacity relative to its population and consumption. There were a few very small reactors in the 50s / 60s which were mostly experimental, and aside from San Onofre, Rancho Seco was the only other large reactor installation. It was located up in the northern part of the state, and shut down in the late 80s under pressure from hippies. Only operated for about 15 years, which was a real shame.

The energy landscape in California is weird. Right now, the state imports about a third of its electricity. And in terms of in-state production, about 62% is fossil-based, mostly nat-gas. If Diablo shuts down, that figure will jump to over 70% fossil.
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Old 06-21-2016, 09:48 PM   #183
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I am somewhat ( foolishly?) optimistic that the "thalidomide forever" crowd is being supplanted by some more pragmatic types. I was unfortunately complicit in the financial ruin of America's biggest sorta-private nuclear project. It seems that public opinion is finally starting to come around to the relative risks of nuclear waste vs fossil fuel byproducts.

As a bad analogy - would you rather live next door to a PE extruder who makes plastic bags, or a virgin-fiber paper mill? I've been to both, and it's an easy call.
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Old 06-21-2016, 10:45 PM   #184
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I am somewhat ( foolishly?) optimistic that the "thalidomide forever" crowd is being supplanted by some more pragmatic types.
At least with thalidomide there was an actual, quantifiable danger. You could say "Look, if you take this drug while pregnant, then there's a such-and-such chance that your child will be born with one or more of this list of genuinely horrible, awful birth defects, assuming that they even make it out of the womb alive rather than dropping out of you as a clump of dead baby with no heart and no face."

Nuclear energy is different. I've never understood why so many people are opposed to it, aside from the seemingly patronizing explenation that "well, I don't understand anything at all about physics, chemistry, or base-load energy generation, but this pretty celebrity told me to be afraid of this thing despite the fact that, statistically speaking, it is the least harmful means of grid-scale energy generation presently available to us, both in terms of environmental cost and cost to human health, so I'm going to trust her."



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I was unfortunately complicit in the financial ruin of America's biggest sorta-private nuclear project.
I think we've talked about this before. You were at WPPSS, right?



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As a bad analogy - would you rather live next door to a PE extruder who makes plastic bags, or a virgin-fiber paper mill? I've been to both, and it's an easy call.
I've never lived next to a plastic extruder, but I have visited a paper mill. Virgin-fiber or not, I prefer to keep my distance from them, thank you very much. I don't even know how to describe that smell. It's like Satan's farts on taco night.
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Old 06-22-2016, 11:12 AM   #185
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".... this pretty celebrity told me to be afraid of this thing despite the fact that, statistically speaking, it is the least harmful means of grid-scale energy generation presently available to us, both in terms of environmental cost and cost to human health, so I'm going to trust her."

Not to be too glib, but stupid people are stupid. I've been reading lately - even in the NYT - that environmentalist groups are coming around on the hazard/benefit ratio of nuclear power vs. fossil(or even hydroelectric).

I was with the AE on a couple of WPPSS units. About 90% of the blame for that fiasco was a combination of bad luck and mismanagement by the client, but we were happy to help out by maximizing our services and billings. That project was kind of "my MBA in How Not to do Stuff." The continuing problem is that the stupendous cost of the project combined with the client's default has made investing so many billions in a nuke seem very risky to lenders. If it hadn't been for Microsoft and Boeing bringing a renaissance, that part of the country's economy would probably still be hurting because of it.

Plastic plants smell vaguely like melting wire insulation, but not quite so acrid. Recycled paper mills smell bad, but not horrific. I went to a virgin-fiber mill in Cottonton, Alabama, and the smell from their water treatment facility was indescribably awful.
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Old 08-15-2017, 10:15 AM   #186
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Posted on August 15, 2017

By Matthew Daly

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Proponents of nuclear power are pushing to revive a failed project to build two reactors in South Carolina, arguing that the demise of the $14 billion venture could signal doom for an industry that supplies one-fifth of the nation’s electricity.


Lindsey Graham

Even though the nation’s 99 commercial nuclear reactors supply about 20 percent of U.S. electricity, no new nuclear plant has been built from scratch in more than 30 years. Supporters were alarmed when two South Carolina utilities halted construction on a pair of reactors that once were projected to usher in a new generation of nuclear power to provide reliable, cost-effective, carbon-free electricity for decades.

Instead the project was plagued by billions of dollars in cost overruns, stagnant demand for electricity, competition from cheap natural gas and — most importantly — the bankruptcy of Westinghouse Electric, the lead contractor.

The July 31 suspension of the partly completed V.C. Summer project near Columbia leaves two nuclear reactors under construction in Georgia as the only ones being built in the U.S. The collapse of the nearly decade-old project in South Carolina could cost ratepayers billions of dollars for work that ultimately provides no electricity and could signal that new nuclear plants are impossible to complete in the United States.

“These reactors failing would be the end of a nuclear renaissance before it even started,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

Graham and other lawmakers from both parties are urging Congress to extend a production tax credit that would provide billions of dollars to the South Carolina project and the two Georgia reactors. The House approved an extension in June, and Graham is pushing for a Senate vote after Congress returns from its August recess.

“I’m mad as hell that you spend all this money and you can’t get it done,” Graham said.

The Vogtle plant in Georgia faces similar economic and competitive threats, including the Westinghouse bankruptcy. The plant’s operator, Atlanta-based Southern Co., has said it will decide in coming weeks whether to finish the two reactors, which are years behind schedule and billions of dollars above projected costs.

Southern CEO Tom Fanning called Vogtle “the last (nuclear) project standing in America” and said it “goes beyond economics” to affect national security.

“If you want a world safe from nuclear proliferation,” construction of nuclear plants “is how we maintain nuclear technology,” said Rich Powell, executive director of ClearPath, a conservative-leaning clean energy group.

Besides the production tax credit, nuclear supporters want the extension of an Energy Department loan guarantee program that has helped Vogtle and other energy projects secure funding. Vogtle received an $8.3 billion loan guarantee under the Obama administration – the largest ever issued by the loan program and a deal that some critics say could end up biting taxpayers.

“We’ve said it for eight years: These massive nuclear reactor projects were doomed from the start, and taxpayer money should not be risked on them,” said Ryan Alexander, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group.

The Summer plant did not receive a loan guarantee, but the parent company of South Carolina Electric & Gas, one of the utilities building it, tried to get a federal grant worth up to $3 billion before abandoning the project. SCANA CEO Kevin Marsh said he and other executives had “very direct discussions” with the White House and Energy Department, including Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and “explained the need for support for these projects because of the national security interest.”

A spokeswoman for Perry said the project’s failure has not dimmed Perry’s belief in nuclear power. “Secretary Perry remains optimistic about the future of nuclear energy in America and continues to watch this issue closely,” said spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes.

The Energy Department invited the S.C. utility to apply for a loan guarantee, but “that invitation was ultimately turned down by the project’s representatives,” Hynes said.

Marsh, speaking at an Aug. 1 hearing before the South Carolina Public Service Commission, said a loan “doesn’t help the situation we’re in.”

The loan guarantees typically serve as long-term incentives for companies to take on major energy projects.

While President Donald Trump backs nuclear energy, the administration eliminated the loan guarantee program in its proposed budget for the next fiscal year. The program was a frequent target of GOP lawmakers during the Obama administration, especially a $535 million loan to the failed solar company Solyndra.

The White House supports extension of the production tax credit, saying it would “fulfill the president’s commitment to the continuation of nuclear energy as a major contributor to our nation’s energy production and security.”

The current credit requires plants to be operational by 2020 – a deadline neither the South Carolina nor Georgia project will come close to meeting.

Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., called suspension of the South Carolina project a shame. “I can tell you, wind and solar are not going to provide the kind of power that nuclear energy provides,” he said.
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Old 08-15-2017, 01:23 PM   #187
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I feel like this needed to be in the Progess thread.

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Old 08-30-2017, 08:31 PM   #188
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RELEASED TODAY:

Southern Co. decides to press ahead with Vogtle expansion

Kristi E. Swartz and Hannah Northey, E&E News reporters Energywire: August 30, 2017 at 6:50 PM
ATLANTA Southern Co. and other utilities building the Vogtle nuclear expansion project in Georgia are prepared to finish the reactors but will lay out a set of assurances that must be met in a filing with state utility regulators tomorrow, E&E News has learned.

This means Plant Vogtle will remain the only set of nuclear reactors under construction in the United States, at least for now.

Southern's Georgia Power Co., the main sponsor of the project, must secure regulatory approvals in Georgia. The utility and the public power co-owners also must have certain financial guarantees to complete the reactors, according to multiple sources familiar with the document.

Vogtle's future has been in flux since its main contractor, Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March. Westinghouse's bankruptcy stemmed from significant cost increases at Vogtle and a separate nuclear project in South Carolina.

Westinghouse's parent, Toshiba Corp., has pledged $3.7 billion in payments to Vogtle regardless of whether the reactors are built. Toshiba must start making those payments in October to help underwrite the project.

Georgia Power's decision to continue building Vogtle is no surprise, but the electric company does not have the final say in whether Vogtle gets finished. That is up to the Georgia Public Service Commission.

The PSC filing will trigger a six-month review, which will give the company and commission time to see whether Toshiba makes its first payment, of $300 million, in October.

The other assurances the utilities are seeking are an extension of federal production tax credits beyond 2020 so Vogtle's reactors can receive them and additional money from the Department of Energy.

Vogtle and V.C. Summer in South Carolina were the first reactors to be built from scratch in nearly 30 years. The utilities stepped in to take over at their respective projects once Westinghouse declared bankruptcy, while figuring out on their own how long it would take to finish their reactors and how much that would cost.

Scana Corp.'s South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. and state-owned Santee Cooper stopped building V.C. Summer last month after deciding the additional costs to finish it would be too much for their customers to bear.

The political fallout from V.C. Summer's cancellation likely played into Georgia Power's decision to keep Vogtle moving forward.

Regulators recently reaffirmed their support for Vogtle by signing off on a list of things Georgia Power must include in tomorrow's filing.

That vote did not ensure that the commission will approve Georgia Power's request. It meant regulators were willing to take a hard look at whether the reactors should be finished.

Finishing Vogtle would give Southern, Georgia Power and the PSC the opportunity to say they pushed through a wide range of obstacles, the severity of which couldn't have been predicted when the utilities pitched the reactors years ago.

Georgia Power and the PSC also tout Vogtle as a way to diversify the utility's generation fleet and add carbon-free baseload electricity to the grid. Consumer and environmental advocates will likely argue that, whatever the increased costs, Vogtle's price tag will be too much for Georgia's customers to pay even if the costs are spread out over decades.
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