nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

An insight onto the nuclear industry’s manipulations to shift their cost burdens

scrutiny-on-costsVendors adapt to financing role World Nuclear News,  5 September 2014 Nuclear power reactor vendors have been forced to adapt to the fact that governments are no longer willing to assume the financial risks associated with nuclear new build projects, Jerry Hopwood, vice president of product development at Candu Energy, said on 12 September….
 Many jurisdictions have re-evaluated the state-owned model to project cost overruns and schedule delays, high government debt loads, other funding priorities leading to privatization of non-core assets, and technological maturity, he said.
Private sector models are difficult to execute for nuclear projects due to first-of-a-kind issues, their large capital requirement, long construction timescales and investor return expectations. But they can work within a positive framework of incentives – for example the UK’s contract for difference model, he said..

Several emerging markets are still developing state-owned models, but are incorporating mechanisms where risks are placed with the appropriate parties, such as nuclear initial public offerings and build-own-operate-transfer.

“Public-private partnership seems to be where the sector is going,” he said.

Public-private partnerships
This combination means a project is financed by both the government and a private investor, with the public share able to attract export credit. Such a model requires a power purchase agreement matched to debt obligations and the project risks are allocated between government agencies and private companies.

Regulatory and technology risks are “two separate sides to the same coin,” he said. Other risks include engineering, supply and project management; technical services; skilled labour and availability and rates; training and commissioning, and lifetime operational support.

Government sponsored financial incentives encourage private sector companies to take increased financial responsibility for nuclear new build projects.

These include contracts for difference and power purchase agreements, loan guarantees, export credits, carbon credits, and cost and schedule overruns.

“Vendors play a critical role in the success of the public-private partnership model by focusing on key areas, which are project risk reduction and regulatory feedback. No matter how the risks are allocated, if they are too high, you won’t get the financing,” he said…….

Collaboration
“Working closely with regulators, vendors can ensure that reactor designs meet safety and environmental standards before project deployment,” he said. “A vendor pre-project design review of a new nuclear power plant allows the regulatory body an opportunity to assess a design prior to any licensing activities and to identify potential issues that would require resolution.”

Further co-ordination between regulators, either bilaterally or through multi-lateral forums, such as MDEP [Multinational Design Evaluation Program], can help to harmonize views and mitigate risks. In that way a design qualified in the home country can be used elsewhere. We need regulatory cooperation across the world,” he said.

The success of future new build projects is “imperative” to ensure the long-term sustainability and growth of the industry, he said. “Failure is not an option.“……

Vendor-led financing is not sustainable in the long term, Hopwood said.

“I think it’s a sort of kick starting mechanism, a way to get projects going so that we start to have a track record,” he told World Nuclear News. “Whether it be in a big way or a small way, it’s showing vendor commitment and it’s getting some projects on the books and going and creating a track record and that’s the value of it and necessarily it must lead to more.”

“If we picture a world with many nuclear projects going ahead – there are 71 nuclear units under construction at the moment – the financing requirement is far more than any vendor or even any individual utility can finance, so financing has to come from aggregating from many sectors in order to have a flourishing nuclear industry. The demand for money is going to be so great that it will necessarily require us to seek out all sorts of funding, all kinds of capital formations,” he said. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Vendors-adapt-to-financing-role-1509201401.html

September 17, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, marketing, Reference | Leave a comment

South Africa’s very suspect plan for vendor-financed nuclear power

flag-S.Africa A nuclear tale that sounds too good to be true Business Day BY CAROL PATON, 15 SEPTEMBER 2014, BUILD now, pay much later. That is the good news story about nuclear energy being told to SA’s decision-makers. In this model, a nuclear vendor and a financier — usually the government of the country of the vendor or a state-owned enterprise or bank — come as a package. The loan from the financier is repaid from the electricity tariff over the long term, 15 to 20 years, and repayments begin when electricity is produced.

This is the simple picture, which has given rise to the perhaps apocryphal story in which a very senior member of the executive told Treasury officials after meeting his Russian counterparts: “We don’t need to pay for it!”

The vendor-financed option has made the scary R1-trillion price tag, wielded by Department of Energy and Treasury officials as a warning to their political principals, disappear in a puff of smoke. The nuclear option appears even more attractive when vendors move onto the next part of the story: as operating costs for nuclear energy are low, and the expense lies in construction, once the loan is repaid, energy becomes a virtual “cash cow” for the operator, and any private investors, for up to 30 years………

The clear frontrunners in this are French company Areva and Russian state-owned enterprise Rosatom. Both offer technology and finance in one package, with some differences. At the heart of both is a power purchase agreement in which the operator of the grid, Eskom, would make an irrevocable commitment to purchase the electricity at an agreed tariff………

An important part of the financing package for vendors interested in SA is the government’s commitment in the nuclear policy of 2008 to a fleet approach. Vendors are able to offer better prices if a fleet of reactors is procured as they get better at building them. Some vendors will not consider SA at all without a fleet procurement.

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This is what lies behind SA’s curious decision in the IRP 2010, SA’s electricity plan, to include 9,600MW of nuclear power in the energy mix. This would amount to a fleet of six Areva reactors (or more, if other vendors with smaller reactors are selected). As electricity demand is far from certain, and has not grown as expected over the past two years or more, overbuilding capacity is a risk.

Independent analysts, such as Prof Harald Winkler of the University of Cape Town, argue that even a nuclear fleet would be more expensive than other options and would lock SA into even higher electricity prices with negative effects on the economy.

Costs such as insurance in the event of a nuclear accident, dealing with the waste, and decommissioning the plant, are not built into the construction prices.

The conclusion of all of this is that the magnitude of the government guarantees required in a R400bn-R800bn nuclear plant building exercise remain very difficult to estimate. Whatever the size of the guarantee and its purpose — for construction or as a guarantee to purchase the power — it would have to find its way onto SA’s contingent liabilities……..

Despite the good “build now, pay later” message being punted by nuclear vendors, the probability is that it will be business and consumers that not only pay later, but pay much more. http://www.bdlive.co.za/business/energy/2014/09/15/news-analysis-a-nuclear-tale-that-sounds-too-good-to-be-true

 

September 17, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

The high financial risk of nuclear power

scrutiny-on-costsA nuclear tale that sounds too good to be true Business Day BY CAROL PATON, 15 SEPTEMBER 2014, “…….The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014, sponsored in part by the anti-nuclear Green Party in the European Parliament, contains dire warnings on accepting these undertakings at face value. The report shows that nuclear energy globally is in decline due in the most part to nuclear accidents, the scale of the finance required, and the enormous risk of cost and time overruns during construction. The world has 50 fewer nuclear plants today than in 2002, with an installed capacity less than two decades ago.

The high risk in the construction of nuclear plants means that the only way that nuclear power plants are built any more is when the vendors bring the financing.

“Commercial banks will not finance it; development banks won’t finance it. Not only are these very large loans, but nobody knows what the plant will cost in the end. The only options for financing are through government subsidies or when the vendor brings its own backing,” the report’s lead writer, energy analyst Mycle Schneider, said in an interview.

Of the 67 reactors under construction, eight have been under construction for more than 20 years and 49 have encountered construction delays, most of them significant, says the report.

Who bears the risk of cost and time overruns? With international experience indicating that cost overruns are between 50% and 200%, the Treasury would need to assume at least a 100% overrun. How this risk is managed will depend on contracting arrangements. While vendors insist there are models in which the vendor takes all the risk, this has not persuaded Treasury officials.

Apart from the fact that nuclear vendors usually want governments to share the construction risk, the undertaking to purchase the power they produce is irrevocable. The key way in which vendors have tried to mitigate risk is through the agreed feed-in tariff. In the example of the Hinkley Point power plant under construction in the UK, the guaranteed tariff will be £92.50/MWh, more than double Eskom’s average electricity price and much more expensive than other base-load options considered in SA’s electricity plan, the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). It is also roughly twice the current bulk level price in the UK, says Mr Schneider, and “by the time the reactors are scheduled to generate power in 2023, the price will reach a staggering £121/MWh”.

Rosatom’s Turkey project, where construction has not begun, involves a 15-year power purchase agreement, with a guaranteed tariff of $123.5/MWh rising to $153.3/MWh if necessary to ensure payback of the project. The higher limit is 50% higher than the wholesale price for electricity in Turkey in 2010…………http://www.bdlive.co.za/business/energy/2014/09/15/news-analysis-a-nuclear-tale-that-sounds-too-good-to-be-true

September 16, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | 1 Comment

USA’s Dept of Energy handing out funds to universities for nuclear education

ISU awarded nuclear research grant http://www.localnews8.com/news/isu-awarded-nuclear-research-grant/28065212 Kaitlin Loukides Sep 15, 2014 POCATELLO, Idaho -
Idaho State University could soon give schools such as M.I.T a run for its money, after the U.S. Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Program awarded ISU more than $600,000 in grant money this week.
Out of that, $400,000 will go toward the Dept. of Nuclear Engineering, where students and faculty will research ways to create benchmarks future nuclear designers around the world can measure the accuracy of their own models.

nuclear-teacher

In layman’s terms: these guys will use this money to do a bunch of research way over most people’s heads in order to set a new standard everyone else in the world will use to make sure their nuclear computer models are on-par.

ISU nuclear science associate professor Dr. Chad Pope said these grants are extremely difficult to obtain since ISU is competing for that funding against every other university in the nation.

He said this research will not only help the nuclear world, but will also benefit local communities who will reap the benefits of ISU’s industry-changing research.

We’re already on the map, and this keeps us there,” Pope said. “It helps us push the science forward and become preeminent in this field. It’s great for the university, it’s great for the community, and it will really help us establish ourselves as a prominent science university.”

Pope said the close connections ISU has with the INL and the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago could have also helped the department get recognized for this grant.

The money will span over a three-year time period, and once the research is complete, it’s expected to become published in the International Handbook of Evaluated Reactor Physics.

September 16, 2014 Posted by | marketing, USA | Leave a comment

“De-coupling” – de-linking profits from sales in the energy utilities

dollar-2SINK THE ‘FLOATING NUKES’ WITH CLEAN ENERGY, EFFICIENT USE http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/14/09/14/opinion-sink-the-floating-nukes-with-clean-energy-efficient-use/  | SEPTEMBER 15, 2014

Decoupling sales from volume can help utilities embrace energy efficiency and solar power, while ambitious targets can give them a reason to do so In 1976 I was a rookie attorney with the newly formed Department of the Public Advocate — later abolished by Republican governors Christy Whitman in 1991 and (after brief resurrection under Gov. Jim McGreevey) by Chris Christie in 2008.

One of my first cases was to oppose plans by the state’s electric utilities to encircle New Jersey with a flotilla of “floating nuclear plants” anchored on barges along the coast, including two within sight of Atlantic City and another in Bayonne Harbor.

While these plans may seem absurd in hindsight, at the time many state officials praised the idea of barge-mounted nukes as the only way to meet ever-rising consumer electric needs without polluting New Jersey’s degraded air quality.

In response, we petitioned the state Public Utility Commission — now called the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) — for an order compelling those utilities to invest enough in energy conservation to reduce demand for power, which would eliminate the need for the floating nukes or, for that matter, many land-based power plants, thereby saving ratepayers billions of dollars while also protecting the environment.

Needless to say, the utilities opposed the idea of saving energy on the customer side of the meter as the better way of meeting ratepayer needs, an idea I had picked up from a small band of alternative energy innovators, such as Amory Lovins (author of “Soft Energy Paths”). I can recall the utility witnesses in the PUC hearings testifying that conservation has the effect of “penalizing” utilities and their shareholders. Conserve more, earn less summarized their positions.

And here’s the rub, they were right. This is because traditional rate-base/rate of return regulation — going back to Woodrow Wilson’s era — ties utilities’ profits to the amount of power sold from a fixed set of capital investments (rate base) in power plants, power lines, and other hard assets.

In other words, “the financial health of most gas and electric utilities was tied directly to retail sales because their fixed costs are recovered through charges based on how much people use,” as summarized in a blog by an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), one of the premier environmental organizations in the nation.

As a result, utilities could not be blamed for promoting increased sales, even as they paid lip service to saving energy. And they could not be blamed for pushing ever-more-ambitious capital construction programs, such as the ill-fated floating nukes project, which eventually were canceled largely due to mounting technical problems and soaring cost overruns.

Fast-forward to 2014: After all these years there is now a practical way of delinking profits from sales volume and rewarding utilities for investing their dollars — called “patient capital” by PSE&G’s visionary president, Ralph Izzo — in “energy efficiency and renewable energy, notably solar photovoltaic systems.”

“Decoupling” is the name for the process of ending the historic linkage between electric and gas sales volume and the ability of the utility to earn profits on its capital investments in the infrastructure — power plants, wires, poles, substations, and the like. (Note: a decade ago, New Jersey’s electric utilities split off their power generation function into standalone “nonutility” companies that compete for contracts to sell to consumers and deliver through utility power lines.)

As it turns out decoupling is remarkably simple to implement: To de-link profits from sales or “throughput,” the utilities would be allowed to earn a given level of revenues set by the BPU based on the number of customers served, regardless of actual sales to those customers. And if profits fall short of targets set by the BPU or if the utilities over-earn in a given period, the BPU would hold a “true-up” proceeding to reset rates and revenues up or down.

Now for the big question: What is the likely impact on consumers of decoupling revenues from sales? Not much. According to another NRDC report, “25 states had adopted some form of decoupling for at least one electric or natural gas utility by the end of 2012, and the rate impacts for consumers have been ‘small to minuscule.” Moreover in nearly 40 percent of the true-up cases the NRDC studied, the ratepayers received refunds as part of periodic true-ups.

The beauty of decoupling is that it “helps keep the utilities’ profits ‘whole’ while their customers are saving energy,” as the NRDC report summarizes. That’s because there is no longer an economic incentive for utilities to boost power sales and oppose effective energy efficiency and renewable energy programs that would cut into those sales. In fact, with decoupling, utilities will have an incentive to get into the energy-efficiency and renewable energy business, by dispatching crews to install home insulation and building solar projects that could reduce electric power sales.

But “a decoupling mechanism alone” is not enough; “it only removes the utilities’ disincentive to support energy efficiency and solar energy,” according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in a recent posting. “To be most effective in promoting [energy-efficiency and renewable-energy] policies, decoupling should be linked with specific targets and also create rewards for utilities for achieving environmental targets beyond their mandates,” SEIA concludes.

In short, there is a pressing need to couple decoupling reforms with vibrantly pro-energy-efficiency and pro-renewable-energy policies such as those contained in the proposed “Renewable Energy Transition Act” (RETA), which sets enforceable targets and timetables for using energy efficiency and renewable energy to meet 80 percent of New Jersey’s power generation needs by 2050.

With this two-pronged approach — decoupling revenues from sales volume and setting ambitious targets for saving energy and developing solar power — New Jersey can show the nation how to curtail global warming by reducing the pollution emanating from fossil-fuel power plants. It’s also a kind of insurance policy protecting us against the perceived need to build risky power plants like the failed floating nukes efforts of yesteryear.

September 16, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Hopes of uranium market revival likely to be dashed

uranium-moneyRally in Uranium Prices Is Unlikely to Last, WSJ, 14 Sep 14  Gains Fueled by Ukraine Crisis, Mine Unrest Don’t Offset Oversupply SYDNEY—A multiweek rally in uranium prices fanned by the Ukraine conflict and labor unrest at a large mine in Canada looks unlikely to continue for long as the reality of oversupply and lackluster demand sinks in among buyers of the nuclear fuel.

Industry analysts and some uranium producers believe that even as supplies fall, a substantial increase in demand is needed to drive prices up to levels that would make new investments worthwhile, when many operations are running at a loss……..

Demand for the fuel hasn’t recovered since the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant in 2011, which sparked nuclear-plant closures across the country and tarnished uranium’s image globally…….

state governments in resource-rich Australia have been encouraging the growth of the nation’s uranium industry. A decadeslong ban on uranium production in Queensland was lifted in July, opening the door to new applications to build mines in the state. The government of New South Wales this month said it would invite six companies to apply for exploration licenses.

Still, there is expected to be little investment in new projects until the market stages a more substantial comeback. Cameco said it would need to see much higher uranium prices before it started construction of its proposed Kintyre uranium mine in Western Australia.

“The nuclear industry is still in the midst of upheaval,” said Jonathan Hinze, senior vice president at nuclear-research firm Ux Consulting Co. …http://online.wsj.com/articles/rally-in-uranium-prices-is-unlikely-to-last-1410726782

September 15, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment

Orlando City Council dumping their investment in Duke nuclear power plant

scrutiny-on-costsOrlando moves to dump stake in Duke’s nuke plant  By Kevin Spear Orlando Sentinel, September 14, 2014 The Orlando City Council is expected to approve a plan Monday to dump city ownership in Duke Energy’s crippled nuclear generator for an amount far less than the original purchase value.

Duke’s nuke plant near Crystal River was bedeviled with concrete failures even before it started up in 1977, two years after Orlando’s electric utility bought a small share of the reactor. Disabled by epic calamity that began five years ago, the unit was supposed to run until at least 2036 and, depending on overhauls, possibly many years beyond then……….

the Florida Municipal Power Agency, which provides wholesale electricity to 30 cities, suggested the Duke plant could turn into a liability quagmire.

“There is much uncertainty and risk involved in decommissioning a nuclear power plant,” the agency stated in a memo to its directors.

“The project is planned to take up to 60 years to complete, and involves complex dismantling and transportation of contaminated material.”…….

Company officials determined that further repairs would cost $1.5 billion to $3.4 billion and take as many as eight years.

After much suspense, Duke Energy finally announced last year that the nuke was beyond saving and would be “placed in a safe, stable condition for 60 years until decommissioning work is completed in 2074.”

During a tour of the nuclear generator in 2011, plant operators said that more than 1,300 bundles of used uranium fuel were stored in a pool 30 feet deep.

That fuel pool, cooled to 101 degrees and blended with boron to stop the splitting of atoms, will remain a long-term maintenance and security concern for Duke Energy.

Asked Friday about the status for that highly radioactive fuel, Duke spokeswoman Heather Danenhower declined to provide further information.

“For security reasons, we do not disclose the number of nuclear fuel assemblies in our spent fuel pool,” Danenhower said.

September 15, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Costs are killing the nuclear industry in USA – 3 new reactors, but 8 shutting down

nuclear-costs3TVA’s costly reactor illuminates nuclear challenge Duane Gang, USA TODAY  September 3, 2014 “…..The Watts Bar project also illustrates the challenges facing the U.S. nuclear industry. Nuclear plants are expensive, complicated and time-consuming to build. They require huge sums of upfront capital — the new Watts Bar reactor could cost as much as $4.5 billion, nearly double earlier estimates.

Only two other utilities across the USA have new nuclear reactors under construction. The South Carolina Electric & Gas Company has two units underway in Jenkinsville, S.C. The Southern Company also is building two near Waynesboro, Ga.

By contrast, eight reactors have decommissioning in progress, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as companies find it too expensive to repair aging units or can’t compete economically with cheap natural gas…….http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/09/02/tva-nuclear-reactor-challenge/14990433/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=usatoday-newstopstories

September 4, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe concerned over USA’s nuclear deal with Ukraine

safety-symbol-Smflag-UkraineOSCE shares Moscow’s concerns over Ukraine’s nuclear deal with US Rt August 28, 2014 The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe shares Moscow’s concern on world nuclear safety and the potential threat that possible US atomic fuel supplies to Ukraine might cause as the country remains in crisis.

Buy-US-nukesThe head of the OSCE and Swiss president Didier Burkhalter says he is concerned about nuclear safety in connection with the US intention to supply the country with nuclear fuel, according to a reply letter to Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Industry Vladimir Gutenev.

Switzerland “shares the view concerning nuclear safety,” Burkhalter wrote, as cited by Itar-Tass,……..

In early June, Gutenev sent a letter to Burkhalter warning of security threats that European nations will face in case of a potential industrial nuclear disaster at one of Ukraine’s power plants, as Kiev is planning to sign a contract with American Westinghouse Electric Company. He highlighted the fact that Soviet made nuclear plants are not compatible with fuel assembly type TBC-W offered by the Americans, as previous trials have shown.

“The nuclear reactors in Ukraine are of Russian (Soviet) design, which are only designed for fuel that has passed a special certification. Therefore, further attempts to use non-adapted fuel assemblies of American production without a corresponding adjustment increase the risk of failure of the Ukrainian reactors and dramatically increase the likelihood of man-made disasters,” Gutenev wrote in June, calling on the OSCE to consider the issue.

In 2005, six experimental Westinghouse fuel assemblies, adopted for use in USSR-developed reactors, were tried at the South Ukraine plant in one reactor together with Russian fuel rods. By 2008 Ukraine signed a contract with Westinghouse on fuel rod supply. However, the experiment showed that Westinghouse assemblies deformed during exploitation and got stuck in the core. The reason is simple – Russian nuclear fuel rods are hexagonal in section, while Americans produce fuel assemblies of square section.

By 2012, after the failed test, exploitation of US nuclear fuel was banned in Ukraine and the fuel rods were returned to the producer “to get fixed” while Russian scientists came to the rescue. The Energoatom Company of Ukraine lost an estimated $175 million in this trial.

Now the Kiev regime has renewed the 2008 nuclear fuel deal till 2020, to replace 25 percent of the Russian-made fuel rods with an option to “provide more if needed.”…….http://rt.com/news/183248-nuclear-ukraine-threat-osce/

August 29, 2014 Posted by | marketing, safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Westinghouse fighting Areva as both try to sell radioactive trash technology to South Africa

Westinghouse challenges South Africa nuclear contract awarded to Areva Thu Aug 28, 2014 JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Westinghouse Electric Company said on Thursday it had filed an interdict in a South African court to reopen the bidding process for a contract awarded to French rival Areva to replace six steam generators at a nuclear power plant…… Westinghouse, the world’s largest nuclear fuel producer and part of Japan’s Toshiba group, said in a statement it had gone to the Johannesburg High Court about the matter. http://af.reuters.com/article/investingNews/idAFKBN0GS1LJ20140828

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August 29, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment

Uranium industry has poor future selling to Japan, says former Japan P.M. Naoto Kan

graph-down-uraniumBetter Market Your Uranium Someplace Else, Japan Appetite No Longer Huge as Before – Former PM Tells Australia Queensland Premier Campbell NewmanInternational Business Times, By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | August 28, 2014 Campbell Newman, premier of Australia‘s Queensland state, has gotten an advice from former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, and that is to market the country’s uranium to someplace else. This, as a new study said the bill of damages from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant meltdown will zoom to over $105 billion, double than the earlier estimates released by authorities in 2011.

While Japan may restart some of its 54 idled nuclear power plants, Kan said Japan’s appetite for the yellow cake uranium won’t be “anywhere the same levels of uranium it has in the past.”

Kan was in Australia last week on a trip sponsored by the Australian Conservation Foundation. A previous staunch supporter of nuclear power, Kan is now against uranium mining, having seen the effects of the Fukushima Daiichinuclear power plant meltdowns in March 2011.

Kan was Japan’s prime minister at the time of the Fukushima nuclear disaster three years ago.

“Even if some did restart it would be practically impossible to return to the kind of levels of operation that were in place before the March 2011 disaster,” Brisbane Times quoted Kan………

He also stressed the appeal of the yellow cake to fuel nuclear power plants had simmered down, and thus Queensland has China as the only potential country it can export its primary product.

“The trends we are seeing in the United States and Europe – and also because of the very high costs of nuclear power – we are not seeing a growth in this market,” he said………http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/564339/20140828/uranium-japan-appetite-kan-australia-queensland-newman.htm#.VADXudJdUnk

August 29, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, Uranium | Leave a comment

Georgia’s new nuclear power plant getting stymied by costs and delays?

nukes-hungryFlag-USAConstruction time uncertain for Ga. nuclear plant Star Telegram, Aug. 28, 2014 BY RAY HENRY Associated Press ATLANTA — Georgia Power said its $6.7 billion budget to build a new nuclear plant is holding steady, but it reported Thursday that builders face “challenges” sticking to the construction schedule and costs could change in the future…….Georgia Power has so far spent $2.8 billion on the project, according to company filings. The other owners, Oglethorpe Power Corp., the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and the city of Dalton, do not report their spending to the Public Service Commission.

The latest cost estimates are uncertain. Utility officials and regulators have previously said Georgia Power does not have a schedule from the companies designing and building the plant, Westinghouse Electric Co. and Chicago Bridge & Iron Co., that detail construction activities past the end of 2015.

“The Company expects the Contractor to employ all possible means to meet the current schedule targets; however, schedule pressures continue to challenge the project,” the report said.

Project schedules have slid since the plant was first approved. The first new reactor was supposed to start producing power in April 2016, with the second following a year later. Georgia Power has since pushed that schedule back to late 2017 and late 2018. Delays are bad for the nuclear industry and electric customers. The longer it takes to build a nuclear plant, the more Georgia Power and its co-owners must pay to finance construction and pay for other charges.

Ultimately, customers pay those expenses unless regulators intervene………

Analysts have been watching Georgia Power’s filings for any signs of additional delays or costs. The current budget does not earmark any money for resolving an ongoing lawsuit between the new plant’s owners and the firms who are designing and building it…….http://www.star-telegram.com/2014/08/28/6075221/construction-time-uncertain-for.html

August 29, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

$105 billion is the estimated cost of Fukushima nuclear clean-up

scrutiny-on-costsflag-japanBetter Market Your Uranium Someplace Else, Japan Appetite No Longer Huge as Before – Former PM Tells Australia Queensland Premier Campbell Newman International Business Times, By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | August 28,

“……….In the research made by Kenichi Oshima, environmental economics professor at Ritsumeikan University, and Masafumi Yokemoto, professor of environment policy at Osaka City University, they said the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant tragedy will cost 11.08 trillion yen ($105 billion). The figure ballooned to include radiation clean-up and compensation to residents.

Specifically, the expenses will include

  • 4.91 trillion yen ($47 billion) for compensation to residents in the affected area of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant
  • 2.48 trillion yen ($23 billion) will be involved in the radiation cleanup of the territories
  • 2.17 trillion yen to scrap the disaster-hit plant
  • 1.06 trillion yen for the temporal storage of radioactive soil

Nevertheless, the researchers noted the amount still exclude costs for the final disposal of radioactive substances, compensation and plant decommissioning.

Oshima and Yokemoto said the cost will be shouldered by the Japanese people through taxes and utility bills.http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/564339/20140828/uranium-japan-appetite-kan-australia-queensland-newman.htm#.VADXudJdUnk

August 29, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, Fukushima 2014, Japan, Reference | Leave a comment

Japan’s “nuclear restart” fades into the doubtful future

piggy-bank--nuke-sadflag-japanDon’t bank on nuclear restarts, Japan Times 24 Aug 14 Power companies are moving again to raise their electricity rates to get out of dire financial straits ………..Electricity charges are estimated to have already increased by roughly 20 percent for households and nearly 30 percent for businesses compared with 2010 levels.

Additional hikes could weigh heavily on households and businesses alike, and for that reason many are calling for a quick restart of the idled nuclear reactors — to remove an obstacle to Japan’s economic growth. That, however, does not warrant a return to business as usual for nuclear power in Japan.

While minimizing the inevitable rate hikes by introducing more streamlining and efficiency in their operations, the utility firms should begin an effort to change their cost structure and reduce their reliance on nuclear power by taking a more realistic view of the situation since the Fukushima disaster.

The Abe administration also needs to set down more specific goals in Japan’s energy policy that will incorporate efforts to reduce “as much as possible” the nation’s dependence on nuclear power — as it says in the government’s latest basic energy plan — to set a clear direction for the utility industry……..

When it raised its rates 11 months ago, Hokkaido Electric assumed that its Tomari Nuclear Power Plant would resume operations by June this year.

When Kansai Electric raised its electricity charges in the spring of 2013, it similarly calculated that its Oi and Takahama nuclear plants in Fukui Prefecture would be up and running.

In its reconstruction plans approved by the government last December, Tepco also assumed that it would start reactivating reactors at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant in Niigata Prefecture by July this year — adding that it might need to raise its rates again by up to 10 percent if the restart of the plant was delayed.

All of these forecasts by utilities have proven too optimistic. Of the 20 reactors at 13 nuclear power plants under safety review by the Nuclear Regulation Authority since July last year, the two reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture have effectively cleared the NRA screening, but their actual restart is not likely before the end of this year due to pending procedures…….

The entire process for restarting the nuclear plants, including the necessary approvals from host municipalities and prefectures, is going to be tough and will take a long time. At present, only 20 of the nation’s 48 reactors are under NRA review……

as long as the power companies keep drawing up business plans based on the hope of once again being be able to operate nuclear power plants as they did before 2011, consumers and businesses can bet on the certainty of more hikes in the future. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2014/08/24/editorials/dont-bank-nuclear-restarts/#.U_u6scVdUnk

August 25, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Westinghouse desperate to sell nuclear equipment to Europe

Buy-Japan's-nukes-2Note about Westinghouse Westinghouse hasn’t been a US corp. for 15 or more years. First it became British and now is Toshiba. The biggest pushers of new reactors are thus Japan, Russia and France. GE is Hitachi Japan. France is Areva and EDF and the Russian gov has Rosatom.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westinghouse_Electric_Company#Westinghouse_Electric_Company.27s_history_1999-present

Comment by miningawareness | August 26, 2014

Westinghouse seeks EU aid to weaken Russia’s nuclear fuel role in Europe ITar-Tass   August 21,  Michael Kirst, Westinghouse’s vice-president for strategy, says Europe needed the second supplier in case of technical failures and possible political sanctions LONDON, August 21. /ITAR-TASS/. US-based Westinghouse has asked the European Union to introduce competition rules on the nuclear fuel market with the aim of reducing Europe’s dependence on the Russian fuel supplies, the Financial Times reported on Thursday………

Finland is one of the European states depending heavily on supplies of Russian nuclear fuel, while Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic are entirely dependent on the Russian deliveries.

The FT reports that, according to Westinghouse “the EU’s weak spot lies in Russian VVER reactors across the former communist bloc and Finland, for which the Russian company TVEL is the only supplier.”

Westinghouse presses the EU for diversification in the Eastern Europe, since the US-based company is the only alternative for supplies of nuclear fuel for VVER-440 reactors.

The company said it needs an investment of $20 million to reprise the nuclear fuel production for the VVER-440 reactors, however, the work would take up to two years. http://en.itar-tass.com/world/746081

August 22, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, USA | 2 Comments

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