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Duke Energy Scraps Plans For Florida Nuclear Plant, Forced To Delay Others 233

Posted by Soulskill
from the running-out-the-clock dept.
mdsolar writes "According to the Associated Press, 'The largest utility in the U.S. is scuttling plans to build a $24.7 billion nuclear power plant in a small Gulf Coast county in Florida, the company announced Thursday. Duke Energy Corp. said it made the decision because of delays by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in issuing licenses for new plants, and because of recent legislative changes in Florida.' Meanwhile, 'Duke Energy's plans to build two nuclear reactors in South Carolina have been delayed by federal regulators who say budget cuts and changes to the plans require more time. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission told Duke in a letter that a final hearing on plans to build the William S. Lee nuclear plant in Cherokee County would have to wait until 2016. The original target had been this past March."
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Duke Energy Scraps Plans For Florida Nuclear Plant, Forced To Delay Others

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  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday August 02, 2013 @10:15AM (#44456611) Homepage Journal
    Hurricanes there aren't any stronger than they are on the East Coast. I've lived through a fair number of hurricanes with a reactor barely ten miles away, and while I'm a Nuclear skeptic, I've never really doubted the strength of these structures and their ability to withstand nature's fury.
  • Re:Shame (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 02, 2013 @10:23AM (#44456713)

    You absolutely right. http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=427&t=3

    37% of our energy from coal
    30% from gas.
    1% from oil

    Yep our usage of oil and coal for energy production are exactly equivalent.

     

  • by hsmith (818216) on Friday August 02, 2013 @10:25AM (#44456727)
    Youtube [youtube.com]

    So, why is anyone surprised his executive agencies are putting up more roadblocks to building power plants? I mean, he said it in plain english.
  • by Pino Grigio (2232472) on Friday August 02, 2013 @10:28AM (#44456775)
  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Friday August 02, 2013 @10:44AM (#44456965)

    I don't think the gulf coast is a good place for a nuke plant anyway what with hurricanes getting stronger and more frequent

    We're talking west coast of Florida here - the place least likely to be hit by a hurricane on the Gulf Coast.

    Note also that Katrina hit a nuclear plant. No problems....

  • 2005 Energy Act (Score:5, Informative)

    by MrKaos (858439) on Friday August 02, 2013 @10:47AM (#44457001) Journal

    The breakdown of U.S energy research and development subsidies reported by the US DOE is roughly 60% for nuclear, 25% to fossil fuels and 15% to sustainable energy sources.

    Half a billion dollars worth of subsidies are available for procuring companies (i.e oil companies) proposing "pre-approved" reactor designs, even if they don't build it, and a 1.8 cent per kilowatt hour tax credit if they do.

    In addition the 2005 U.S energy bill provided another $13 billion dollars worth of subsidies and revocation of the Public Utilities Holding Company Act (PUHCA, by George.W.Bush), put into law in 1935 to stop a re-occurrence of the 1929 stock market crash. It is this economic mechanism which allows the owners of nuclear power stations to syphon money from ratepayers in the same way utilities companies did in the 1920s.

    For anyone whos says this is a problem of the "NIMBYs" (or the ratepayer) protesting the construction, it's not. Constructs in the law governing the location and construction of Nuclear Reactors specifically exclude ratepayer concerns in the consideration for approval. Utilities companies withdraw for their own reasons, usually insurance and liability as, even with the provisions of thePrice Anderson Act [wikipedia.org] Nuclear power plants are too risky to operate.

    The reality is if the Nuclear power industry was forced to cover it's own liability and fund itself it would cease to exist.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 02, 2013 @10:51AM (#44457033)

    Abso-fucking-lutely. Other than hosing off the panels a few times a year, there is no maintenance at all. It is an entirely solid state system with no moving parts.

    What if something fails? The inverters and panels all have non pro-rated 30 year warranties. Real-time monitoring software lets me know if a panel or inverter fails. When, or if it does, it is replaced, for free as covered by the warranty---all of those costs are already included in the price.

    Also you seem to think I am the first person in the world to install solar panels...there are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of existing installations which have been installed for decades....this is not rocket science. It's good, proven, cost-effective technology.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 02, 2013 @11:02AM (#44457151)

    Also the 42% lower price for solar vs nuke would indicate there's a little wiggle room for a higher failure rate than expected--and remember my numbers already include paying for the entire system TWICE. If I had to buy THREE systems in 60 years instead of TWO, my cost per KWH would still be $6 vs $6.90 for nuke (really $7.39 for nuke when you factor in transmission losses).

    ALSO--the price of solar PV cells has steadily been dropping due to research and develpment. My replacement cost in 30 (or even 20) years for new panels will likely be significantly lower than $24,000. And the icing on the cake is that it's the panels and inverters that wear out, not the interconnect wiring, racks or engineering. Panels and inverters make up about 50-60% of the total installed cost. The upgrade I install 30 years from now when I'm in my 70s will likely be half the price of what I paid this year. The system after that one...I probably won't be around to see.

  • by sjbe (173966) on Friday August 02, 2013 @11:14AM (#44457313)

    The remaining plants are nowhere near Lake Michigan.

    In Illinois there are active three nuclear power stations (Braidwood, Dresden, and LaSalle) not far from Chicago. A serious criticality incident on any one of those three would likely affect Lake Michigan. There also are Palisades Power Station (Michigan), Point Beach (Wisconsin), Donald Cook Power Station (Michigan) which are all on Lake Michigan.

    Personally I wonder if having nuclear stations so close to 1/5 of the world's fresh water supply is a good idea. I'm not opposed to nuclear power but I think some locations might be more sensible than others. The Great Lakes are hugely important, have often been environmentally abused and some of the power stations (Palisades in particular) don't have the best operating records.

  • Re:Thanks, NRC! (Score:4, Informative)

    by interkin3tic (1469267) on Friday August 02, 2013 @11:25AM (#44457499)
    I'd argue it's more that lawyers have a nasty habit of convincing stupid people who are upset about something to pursue frivolous lawsuits. Schools can weather bitching and angry letters. What they're paranoid about is getting sued for things beyond their control, so they think a piece of paper with a signature will prevent that.

    As someone who has been sued for $200K for giving someone a sore knee (trying to get money from my insurance provider), I'm convinced sometimes greedy lawsuits just happen and there's not much you can do to avoid it. In the case of a nuclear meltdown, parents would sue for not providing lead shields and rad-x.
  • Re:Thanks, NRC! (Score:5, Informative)

    by nojayuk (567177) on Friday August 02, 2013 @11:42AM (#44457773)

    The current designs of nuclear plants being built around the world have an initial design life of 60 years, not "a couple of decades". They may well go on operating for a century depending on maintenance, fuel costs etc.

    The existing fleet of Gen II reactors built in the 70s and 80s are reaching the end of their initial licencing period of 40 years but after inspection and some upgrading here and there quite a few of them are getting a licence extension of ten years with the expectation that they could well get another 10-year operating extension on top of that.

  • Re:Thanks, NRC! (Score:2, Informative)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday August 02, 2013 @01:33PM (#44459325) Homepage

    Naval nuc reactors are designed and maintained under very different standards (and cost constraints) than civilian light water reactors. For a number of reasons, the Navy system doesn't scale to commercial sizes.

    But this is exactly my point: we can make nuclear power safe (as soon as we figure out what to do with the waste - that's political, not technical), we just haven't done so. And we don't seem to be making the effort to do so. The nuclear power industry at times is it's own worst enemy. They've been caught trying to cheap it out numerous times. They've been caught pants down in terms of security. They've been caught fudging pretty much everything they can fudge.

    The big problem with commercial nuclear power these days is that it's too expensive. Even solar and wind and a shitload of batteries can out compete it.

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