Monday, January 29, 2007

The Race to Build New Nukes

The Wall Street Journal (subscription):

With the U.S. on the verge of building a new generation of nuclear power plants, potential owners are racing to identify and lock down the best sites in order to secure billions of dollars in federal subsidies pledged to first-comers.

Their efforts will test local and national attitudes more than two decades after nuclear accidents made headlines. They also represent a considerable financial gamble for the utility industry, which is moving ahead at a rapid pace despite uncertainty ranging from environmental opposition to finding a home for radioactive nuclear waste...

A flood of applications seeking permission to build at least 30 reactors, primarily in the South, is expected to pour into the Nuclear Regulatory Commission beginning late this year. If built, the reactors would boost the nation's electricity supply by more than 30,000 megawatts, or 3%.
The TVA may be the first out of the box:
The Tennessee Valley Authority will submit applications to build two new nuclear reactors under the government's streamlined licensing process and restart its oldest reactor after a 22-year shutdown at Browns Ferry, TVA officials told the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The public utility also plans to decide by August whether to spend up to $2 billion to complete the unfinished Unit 2 reactor at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant, the newspaper reported Sunday.

The total cost could exceed $7 billion for design and construction, officials said.