No nuclear renaissance- instead, a nuclear terminal illness
Nuclear plant closures show industry’s struggles, Anchorage Daily News, 8 June 13, LOS ANGELES — The decision to close California’s San Onofre nuclear plant is the latest setback for an industry that seemed poised for
growth not long ago.
In Wisconsin, a utility shuttered its plant last month after it couldn’t find a buyer. In Florida – and now California – utilities decided it was cheaper to close plants rather than spend big money fixing them and risk the uncertainty of safety reviews.
Meanwhile, the low cost of natural gas is discouraging utilizes from spending billions of dollars and lots of time to build nuclear reactors…………In places where utilities sell power into the open market, the low prices don’t offset the financial risk of buildingexpensive and time-consuming nuclear plants……….
Only three nuclear construction projects have moved forward, and they
are all under financial pressure. The Tennessee Valley Authority is finishing a long-mothballed reactor at its Watts Bar plant. Initially budgeted at $2.5 billion, the utility has said finishing the project could cost up to $2 billion
Atlanta-based Southern Co. owns a 46 percent share of two new reactors being constructed at Plant Vogtle in eastern Georgia, a project originally estimated at $14 billion. Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power recently asked regulators to raise its share of the construction budget by $737 million to roughly $6.85 billion.
It may cost more. Georgia Power and the companies designing and building the plant are in a legal fight that may cost the utility more money. Separately, an independent monitor hired by Georgia regulators has warned of additional potential costs.
SCANA Corp. announced this week that it expects its costs to rise by around $200 million and the construction schedule to slip while building two reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in SouthCarolina.
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