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Dominion Energy having second thoughts about a new nuclear reactor, in view of current nuclear debacle

Amid nuclear setbacks, Virginia utility pauses plans for new reactor, SOUTH EAST ENERGY NEWS BY, Jim Pierobon, September 6, 

Dominion Energy has paused development activities on a fifth reactor at a Virginia nuclear power plant, according to a company spokesperson.

The move comes amid ever-growing scrutiny now that construction on two reactors in South Carolina has stopped and plans for others in the region have been scrapped…….

“Dominion is clearly realizing its bet on more nuclear in Virginia was a colossal mistake and waste of ratepayer subsidies,” said Mike Tidwell, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and an outspoken opponent of additional reactors in Virginia.

Jim Little, a consultant who represents the industry on South Carolina’s Nuclear Advisory Council and chairs the Carolinas Nuclear Cluster, cut to the chase in a primer on the industry’s status for an executive conference in early August.

“Would you be willing to continue investing in an established business with flat revenues (and) increasing costs (electricity) while competing against an agile field of competitors (renewables and natural gas) who enjoy market advantage of lower costs, quicker deployment schedules, support of government subsidies and favorable public opinion?”

……Dominion’s choice of GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and their Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor technology for North Anna 3, or NA3 as it’s known, is viewed by critics as a major risk because such a reactor has never been built in the U.S. The higher estimated cost of $19 billion alone is a hurdle all its own.

Little and Adams agreed that neither GE nor Hitachi has a program underway to foster the size and depth of a supply chain for the pipes, valves, pressure vessels and other parts, along with the engineering skills, needed to complete one of its reactors on time and on budget. The ever-shrinking U.S. nuclear construction supply chain along with an aging workforce pose a significant obstacle to on-time, and on-budget construction, according to industry veterans.

Will ratepayers pick up the bill?

Perhaps the most salient question facing Dominion is whether it will be permitted to charge ratepayers for all of its development work to date.

“The State Corporation Commission has repeatedly warned Dominion not to expect to be granted the right to charge ratepayers for continuing development of NA3,” said Ivy Main, a frequent critic of Dominion and active member of the Sierra Club.

“Three years ago Dominion persuaded the General Assembly to allow them to charge ratepayers for the majority of its development costs to that point, about $500 million,” Main said. “So Dominion may feel it can always allow them to recover development costs even when the SCC turns them down. We hope this time our legislators stand up for their constituents and say no.”

The tally thus far for pursing a fifth reactor reportedly exceeds $600 million.….


September 11, 2017 - Posted by | business and costs, USA


  1. Let’s make sure that my quotes are put in context.
    My point was that the industry should look at its practices to identify unnecessary activities and reduce cost to preserve a valuable national resource. I also pointed out that a lack of recent experience in new builds allowed the supply chain to deteriorate here in the U.S. presenting an obstacle that new builds have to overcome.

    Jim Little

    Comment by Jim Little | September 12, 2017 | Reply

  2. I agree with Jim. Electric companies are in business to make money and if you can’t make money you look for a business or process that can. Asking the public to paid for the mistakes of Electric Companies doesn’t sit well with anyone.

    Comment by John Soares | September 13, 2017 | Reply

  3. The Plains Native Americans advised us, “If the horse you are riding is dead, dismount.”

    Einstein observed that insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.

    Others have observed that if you keep doing what you’ve been doing you’ll get more of what you have already gotten.

    Comment by drbillcorcoran | September 15, 2017 | Reply

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