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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 Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Friday August 02, 2013 @10:55AM (#44456409) Journal

    Either these kinds of plants are ok or they are not. If not, ban them. If so, get the hell out of the way.

  • by rossdee (243626) on Friday August 02, 2013 @10:58AM (#44456433)

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

  • Thanks, NRC! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 02, 2013 @10:59AM (#44456445)

    at a time when we need more power generating capacity, it's nice to see the relevant government agency doing its best to bottleneck the process!

  • Shame (Score:1, Insightful)

    by XPeter (1429763) on Friday August 02, 2013 @10:59AM (#44456453) Homepage

    It's such a shame that the far left has put such a stigma on nuclear power. All of the nuclear accidents in history have happened because of poor oversight, not to the fault of the technology itself. Oh well, I guess we can keep burning oil for the next hundred years.

  • Re:Shame (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 02, 2013 @11:04AM (#44456493)

    You mean coal. FTFY

  • Re:Thanks, NRC! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Talderas (1212466) on Friday August 02, 2013 @11:16AM (#44456631)

    That's a CYA policy. Parents have a nasty habit of making a ruckus if a school gives their kids anything they didn't agree to. It's probably a permission ship to be able to give iodine tablets to the students in the event of a meltdown. So even though those tablets would likely help keep the kids from getting thyroid cancer parents would bitch at the school for doing it without permission.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday August 02, 2013 @11:21AM (#44456697) Journal
    Yeah, never miss an opportunity to blame the government and the bureaucracy. All that fracking and all that cheap natural gas flooding the market has no bearing on the decision. Most energy experts predicting USA to become a net exporter of petroleum products in the coming years did not affect the decision. 25 billion dollars is a pittance for Duke Energy and the only reason they scuttled the project was because of bureaucracy and regulation and delays.

    Expect the same thing to be repeated in West Virginia and South Western Pennsylvania coal belts. They will blame the government, onerous regulations, etc etc and claim "clean coal" was killed by enviro nazis. All the while the natural gas is getting cheaper than even the dirty coal. If you spend more money on cleaning up dirty coal how can you compete with another thing that burns more easily, transports more easily and costs less?

    We may disagree whether this boom in fracking and natural gas abundance is a good or bad. But one thing we can be sure is, these entrenched interests would blame the government at every opportunity even when the true cause is thumping its chest like an 800 lb gorilla right on their faces.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 02, 2013 @11:38AM (#44456873)

    Assuming an industry standard 92.1% uptime for the plant, an industry standard 0.85 CENTS per KWH operating & refueling cost and a 60 year lifespan, this plant with its two AP1000 reactors would generate 19.6 Billion KWH per year for 60 years. That works out to an installed cost of $6.91 per KWH of capacity.

    Meanwhile, I just installed a 6.2 KWH solar array for $24,000, (before any tax rebates and including all engineering, labor and other parts like inverters). Factoring in its 30 year life span (meaning factoring in that I'd need to buy TWO systems to equal the 60 year lifespan of the reactor) and factoring in average solar availability here in Florida, my cost per installed KWH is $4.00.

    Those are real numbers, not speculative. And they DON'T INCLUDE any transmission losses, which average 7% nationwide.

    So it is cheaper for us as a nation to put solar panels on every roof than it is to build nuke plants.

  • Re:Shame (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 02, 2013 @11:38AM (#44456875)

    Like it or not, poor oversight can't be removed from a discussion of the technology. If you are building a nuclear plant, you need to be confident that you will be able to maintain responsible oversight/operations/maintenance of the facility for 60 plus years, with oversight/maintenance/storage of the waste for longer. You can have every confidence in the design, in the current owners and the operators when it begins operation, but they will likely be retired if not dead by the time the plant closes. All it takes is one few year period where bad management / operations / regulation comes in and a disaster can happen.

    For the record, cheap natural gas and a general lack of growing electricity demand is making developing a nuclear plant pretty questionable at the moment. You have to spend (i.e. borrow) a ton of money up front, on the expectation you will need the energy in 5-10 or more years and that the price of power will have increased sufficiently. Alternatively you can wait it out, see what happens to demand and if needed throw up a gas-fired plant quickly for much less capital and a pretty reasonable operations costs.

  • by JDevers (83155) on Friday August 02, 2013 @11:53AM (#44457053)

    True, although other areas also have problems. Generally you need to be on a coast for the massive amount of cooling water needed

    Huh?
    Might want to look at a map of US nuclear facilities.
    http://www.greenpeace.orgusaennews-and-blogscampaign-blognew-maps-of-nuclear-power-plants-and-seismic-blog33826eicnt7ucmlxocrazoqgmagpsigafqjcnh-dk-ug9bf6fywq0-g_2ha_kiurgust1375544816089350/ [www.greenp...4816089350]

    The majority are NOT on the coast, many are on relatively small lakes...plus we have these cool things like cooling towers, not all those plants pull cold water in and dump hot water into a water source directly. A nuclear power plant doesn't need any more access to deep, cold water than a coal plant of the same generating capacity.

  • by DemoLiter3 (704469) on Friday August 02, 2013 @12:15PM (#44457331) Homepage
    ... or cadmium telluride in the solar panels?
  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Friday August 02, 2013 @12:21PM (#44457395)

    The government is effectively denying nuke plants it doesn't have a right to deny by delaying hearings indefinitely.

    In criminal trials, if the prosecution fails to make their case in a speedy manner the case is dismissed by default.

    Likewise, these planning commissions should function like trials before an impartial judge concerned only with the law. The planning commission should have the ability to approve plans without a trial or if they wish to reject a plan they should bring it before a judge in a timely manner. If they fail to do so then they should wave their ability to stop the project.

    A major problem with the US government at this point is that the checks and balances between executive, legislative, and judicial have broken down to some extent. Especially in these regulatory agencies, various departments are given the authority to be judge, jury, and executioner. In some cases literally. This is all a violation of due process.

    These regulatory bodies are effectively members of the executive. They're cops. They have every right to respond to a situation but they do not have the right to pass judgement, set policy, or carry out a sentence without judicial review on a case by case basis.

    Obviously people that are against the nuclear plant will say this is good and the executive should just do whatever it wants indifferent to judicial review because the executive is doing what they want at that time. That's fine. However, what happens when the executive does something you disagree with...? You have no recourse if the regulators are absolute.

    It is in everyone's interest that this stop and that the system be held to some account. If the feds want to stall permits that's fine... they forfeit a right to contest projects in that event. If they want a say they can approve or deny permits AND offer reasons for doing so before an impartial judge.

    Short of that... its a violation of our rights. End of story.

  • by sjbe (173966) on Friday August 02, 2013 @12:22PM (#44457417)

    All of the nuclear accidents in history have happened because of poor oversight, not to the fault of the technology itself.

    The oversight IS a part of the technology. If the technology were flawless and relatively safe then extensive regulation and oversight would not be needed. I'm not opposed to nuclear power but pretending that the oversight can be separated from the equipment is naive.

  • by Applehu Akbar (2968043) on Friday August 02, 2013 @12:32PM (#44457603)
    WIll it be the carbon-free world, or the non-nuclear world?
  • Re:Shame (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <.ten.3dlrow. .ta. .ojom.> on Friday August 02, 2013 @12:43PM (#44457783) Homepage

    All of the nuclear accidents in history have happened because of poor oversight, not to the fault of the technology itself.

    So what you are saying is that we need to solve the oversight problem. What progress has been made towards doing that? I don't see any really... In my own country the nuclear industry seems to be just as cock-up prone as ever. Still no plan to deal with waste either.

    The only solution on offer seems to be to make nuclear power cheaper for companies to operate and then they will... Actually I'm not sure what the rest of the plan is, I just keep hearing people moaning about the cost due to regulation.

  • by Maury Markowitz (452832) on Friday August 02, 2013 @01:40PM (#44458611) Homepage

    The two reactors were 1,100 MW each, a total of 2.2 GW.

    The price tag was $24.7 billion.

    So that's 24.7 / 2.2 = $11.23 per watt!

    Natural gas turbines are about $1 a watt. PV's going in under $2. Wind is about $6.

    http://matter2energy.wordpress.com/2013/08/03/the-nuclear-reontinues-apace/

  • by Urza9814 (883915) on Friday August 02, 2013 @04:21PM (#44460623)

    They *lost* billions because the government forced them to cancel it, and now you want to double their losses by making them pay the same amount to the government? I don't care if it was the government's money to begin with; you don't get to give a bunch of money to someone to buy something, then steal it from them, then demand the money back!

    I mean I'm no fan of corporations -- I've nearly been arrested protesting quite a few though Occupy, the Tar Sands blockade, etc....but seriously?

  • by Solandri (704621) on Friday August 02, 2013 @06:10PM (#44461767)
    I'm not sure what is wrong with your math since you don't show any calcs, but it is horribly wrong.

    Assuming an industry standard 92.1% uptime for the plant, an industry standard 0.85 CENTS per KWH operating & refueling cost and a 60 year lifespan, this plant with its two AP1000 reactors would generate 19.6 Billion KWH per year for 60 years. That works out to an installed cost of $6.91 per KWH of capacity.

    First of all, there is no such thing as kWh of installed capacity. kWh is a unit of energy. kW is a unit of power. Installed capacities for a power plant are given in terms of power. (Unless you're talking about batteries, in which case the installed capacity is given as the maximum amount of energy it can store.)

    2 * 1000 MW * 0.921 * 8766 hours/year * 60 years = 968.8 billion kWh generated over the 60 years.

    $24.7 billion for the cost of the plant (ignoring interest since you ignored it in the solar case) works out to $24.7 / 968.8 = $0.0255 per kWh. Add the $0.0085 per kWh operating and refueling costs and you get $0.034 per kWh. Or 3.4 cents per kWh.

    It makes no sense to state this in terms of kWh per year, because that would be the cost for constructing a $24.7 billion nuclear facility, using it one year, and replacing it each following year with a new $24.7 billion facility.

    Meanwhile, I just installed a 6.2 KWH solar array for $24,000, (before any tax rebates and including all engineering, labor and other parts like inverters). Factoring in its 30 year life span (meaning factoring in that I'd need to buy TWO systems to equal the 60 year lifespan of the reactor) and factoring in average solar availability here in Florida, my cost per installed KWH is $4.00.

    Your solar panels don't put out 6.2 kW (6.2 kWh for an array makes no sense, unless you mean 6.2 kWh per month or year, which is a pittance). Assuming it's a 6.2 kW array (about 45 m^2 - reasonable for a large home installation), PV solar has a capacity factor of about 0.145 for the U.S (about 0.11 in the northern U.S., 0.18 in the desert southwest, 0.10 for northern Europe). That is, if you have 1 kW of nameplate capacity installed, over the year it will on average generate 145 Watts. So a 6.2 kW array will over the year only generate an average of 899 Watts.

    6.2 kW * 0.145 * 8766 hours/yr * 30 yrs = 236.4 thousand kWh generated over 30 years.

    At a cost of $24,000, that's $24 / 236.4 = $0.1015 per kWh, or 10.2 cents per kWh. Exactly 3x more expensive than the nuclear plant.

    So your production costs are in-line with everything government and power company sources [wikipedia.org] have been saying. PV solar costs about 2 to 5 times more than fossil fuels and nuclear.

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