The Forum on Energy weekly news roundup brings together a mix of global energy stories from around the web. It is published every Thursday and is available on Twitter via @forumonenergy
The Fate of America’s Nuclear Future Rests on Southern Co.
With a multibillion-dollar nuclear project in South Carolina dead, the fate of America’s nuclear renaissance now rests on one utility: Southern Co. Scana Corp. dropped plans for two reactors Monday, leaving the two that Southern is building at the Vogtle plant in Georgia as the only ones under construction in the U.S. And even they are under threat: The utility had to take over management of the project from its bankrupt contractor Westinghouse Electric Co., and the plant is still years behind schedule and billions over budget. Now it must decide whether to finish them. The chairman of the Georgia Public Service Commission is more confident in the Vogtle plant and noted that Southern has secured a $3.7 billion payment guarantee from Westinghouse’s parent, Toshiba Corp., which is considerably larger than the $2.2 billion guarantee for Scana’s project.
According to IEEJ, Japan Will Benefit from Reactor Restarts
A total of ten Japanese nuclear power reactors are likely to have been restarted by the end of March 2019, according to the latest estimate by the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ). So far five Japanese reactors – Sendai units 1 and 2; Takahama units 3 and 4; and Ikata unit 3 – have been restarted under new safety regulations. The IEEJ notes another seven units have already met these standards and are being prepared for restart. With ten reactors in operation, compared with none, real GDP expands by JPY500 billion, the self-sufficiency ration increases by 2.9 percentage points and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions fall by 2.7%. Electricity unit cost should decrease by JPY300 per megawatt-hour, compared with no reactors being restarted beyond the current five. “Nuclear power generation clearly contributes to the improvement of the 3Es (economy, energy security and environment),” the IEEJ said.
Source: World Nuclear News
South Carolina Nuclear Woes Could Affect Virginia
The multibillion-dollar mess over partially-built nuclear plants in South Carolina could affect whether Virginia goes forward with a pricy new reactor of its own. The failure in South Carolina to make new nuclear work could make it harder for Virginia’s largest electric utility, Dominion Energy, to move forward with a new reactor it has been considering for years and already spent millions on. Two South Carolina energy providers — SCANA Corp. and Santee Cooper — decided this week to abandon construction of two unfinished nuclear reactors over delays and their high costs, a move that leaves ratepayers there on the hook for billions of dollars with nothing to show for it. Days after the nuclear plant failures, Senator Graham (R- South Carolina) wrote that nuclear projects need the same kind of steady policy support that China and Russia have demonstrated. The United States must demonstrate its commitment to our national security by investing in the completion of domestic reactors.
China contracts GE to provide services to Daya Bay plants
USA-based GE is to provide services to the steam turbines, generators and auxiliary systems of the nuclear power plants on the Daya Bay site in China under a 12-year agreement signed with the site’s operating company. GE announced that its Power Services business has signed a 12-year agreement with the the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Operations and Management Company (DNMC) under which it will provide services including the supply of spare parts, engineering support, on-site service, repair and life extension for the steam turbines of the six units at Daya Bay. Hong Kong gets much of its power from mainland China, in particular about 80% of the output from Daya Bay’s 1888 MWe net nuclear capacity is sent there. Hong Kong utility China Light & Power has a 25% equity stake in the Daya Bay plant. The Hong Kong government plans to close down its coal-fired plants, and by 2020 to get 50% of its power from mainland nuclear, up from the current 23%.