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PostPosted: Aug 05, 2017 7:54 am 
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E Ireland wrote:
Are they going to scrap them, or will this be a Watts Bar 2/Atucha 2 style freeze on construction?


I think only a federal organization like TVA gets to keep a large nuclear construction project on hold indefinitely.


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PostPosted: Aug 05, 2017 8:50 am 
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Southern Co. says Vogtle costs to exceed $25B

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The cost of expanding Plant Vogtle has swelled to more than $25 billion and work has slipped further behind schedule in the wake of a key contractor’s bankruptcy, according to estimates disclosed Wednesday by Southern Company. The new cost estimate is close to double the original projection when state regulators in 2009 approved plans for two new nuclear reactors at the plant near Augusta, and roughly $3 billion higher than the most recent figure. Construction was originally supposed to be finished by now. But Atlanta-based Southern also said Wednesday the new reactors won’t be finished until March 2023 — two and a half years later than its most recent target of late 2020. Southern’s revised estimates came only days after news that the owner of a similar nuclear expansion in South Carolina is canceling the project because of soaring costs, delays and other challenges. Both projects were disrupted by a late March bankruptcy filing by Westinghouse Electric, which supplied the reactor designs and oversaw construction at Vogtle as well as the South Carolina site. Work continues at Vogtle, and Southern is expected to finish an analysis this month of whether to complete the expansion. The Georgia Public Service Commission, the state’s utility regulator, has the final say. In comments Wednesday during a conference call with investors, Southern CEO Tom Fanning indicated he leans toward recommending that construction keep going. “From a lot of scenarios, going forward with nuclear may make sense,” Fanning said during the call to discuss Southern’s quarterly earnings. He said the expanded nuclear plant would provide carbon-free power, maintain fuel diversity and play better politically with state regulators and lawmakers. “When you abandon, you have nothing to show for the money you spent. If you go forward, you have a nuclear plant that serves you for decades,” he said. “But there has been no decision made.” Scuttling the project wouldn’t be cost-free. Southern estimates it would incur shutdown costs of $400 million on top of the nearly $6 billion that its subsidiary Georgia Power has invested so far. Customers of Georgia Power, which operates Vogtle and is the main partner in its expansion, already are being assessed for financing costs on the Vogtle project, with the levy adding $100 a year to a typical residential bill. The PSC will eventually decide how much they pay toward construction. Fanning said Southern has “looked at the waterfront” of options, including building natural gas plants instead, probably at another site. He said the company will recommend “a single idea” to the PSC by the end of the month. PSC Chairman Stan Wise has said he wants the commission to issue a go/no-go decision by December. Georgia Power owns 45.7 percent of the project, while Oglethorpe Power and MEAG Power also own significant chunks and the city of Dalton has a small stake. Southern is counting on almost $3.7 billion in guarantees to be paid to all the partners by Westinghouse’s parent, Toshiba Corp., starting with a $300 million payment in October. That commitment stems from settlement of previous contractor disputes on the project. In South Carolina, utilities SCANA Corp. and Santee Cooper faced a similar $25 billion cost figure — and decided to pull the plug on building two new reactors at the V.C. Summer plant north of Columbia. In addition to costs and delays they cited falling demand for electricity and the uncertainty around Westinghouse’s bankruptcy. Vogtle project critics also have said slowing demand for electricity has made the bigger nuclear plant unnecessary and overly expensive compared to alternatives. But Fanning and at least two of the PSC’s five commissioners said this week that the South Carolina project’s abandonment doesn’t point to a similar decision for Vogtle. “There are a host of differences between our project and the Summer project,” Fanning said, even though the projects share the same reactors, suppliers, and challenges. Wise and fellow PSC commissioner Doug Everett made similar comments earlier in the week. They also expressed confidence that Southern Nuclear, a unit of Southern, can take over management of the project from Westinghouse, even though it hasn’t built any nuclear plants. Southern’s new Vogtle estimates were disclosed during the company’s second-quarter financial report. Southern lost $1.4 billion during the quarter, largely due to writing off more than $3 billion on another troubled project — a “clean coal” plant in Mississippi. Mississippi’s utility regulator recently told Southern’s Mississippi subsidiary to keep burning natural gas at the plant and give up the coal project, following years of rising costs and complications.


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PostPosted: Aug 08, 2017 11:56 am 
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The Geopolitical Costs of America’s Nuclear Winter

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Nuclear’s struggles are the most pressing energy problem for the U.S. today—more so than the intermittency of renewables or the struggles of coal—because the power source is going to be leaned on heavily in the coming decades as we work to produce a low-carbon energy mix.


True. Dat.


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PostPosted: Aug 18, 2017 6:29 am 
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There seems to be some confusion about VC Summer

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South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCG&E) has decided to withdraw its petition seeking permission from state regulators to abandon construction of two AP1000 reactors at its VC Summer plant. The move, the company said, would allow government officials to complete reviews of the project.


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PostPosted: Aug 18, 2017 11:23 am 
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Thanks, E., for the WNN heads up. I'm not a qualified analyst and there are members here WAY more skilled. Silence. So, from the peanut gallery I'll venture a guess. Do we go with Keynes or Friedman? How about somewhere in between like the biggest government bailout of a private company in U.S. history? Or do we go with the PRC who are maneuvering to buy out the U.S.?

Kirk, my naive ruminations annoy you. That's possibly a good thing. Does the U.S. need ten Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers? I say make it nine and send a check to SC for $10 billion and finish these AP1000s—obviously a failed nuclear reactor technology next MSRs! That way there will less incentive for the PRC to continue to buy the United States of America. "Make America Great Again"—TM

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PostPosted: Aug 26, 2017 10:08 am 
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Duke won’t help restart VC Summer nuclear project

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Duke Energy will not save the mothballed V.C. Summer nuclear expansion project, the Charlotte-based power company said Friday. “The project is far too expensive, and the uncertainties around the ultimate completion and operation are far too great for us to accept on behalf of our customers and owners,” Duke spokesman Ryan Mosier wrote in an email. “We did not arrive at this decision lightly. We recognize the impact the V.C. Summer cancellation has on the state of South Carolina.” The decision is a blow to S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster’s efforts to revive the long-delayed and over-budget Fairfield County project.


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PostPosted: Aug 27, 2017 2:49 pm 
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Tim Meyer wrote:
Does the U.S. need ten Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers?


Yes. I expect that it wouldn't be too hard to find some admirals that would say it's more like twelve needed.

Tim Meyer wrote:
I say make it nine and send a check to SC for $10 billion and finish these AP1000s—obviously a failed nuclear reactor technology next MSRs! That way there will less incentive for the PRC to continue to buy the United States of America. "Make America Great Again"—TM


What does the US Navy get out of this? I mean if you are taking this money out of their budget then they have some say on this, don't they? If not then it's still coming from the federal government, what does the federal government get from this? Is this a gift? A loan? Would the government have ownership of the power plant?

I believe a lot of the problem with nuclear power is too much government involvement. Nuclear is somehow "special" and the usual rules don't apply. Well, maybe we need to make the usual rules apply. Stop changing the rules and let the market figure this out. We have bankruptcy rules for failed companies, use them. If we make special rules for nuclear power then that makes it all that much harder for the players in the industry to play the game.

I can understand the enthusiasm of making this a success but the part of making something successful is allowing a failure once in a while. Failures teach the rules. Keep the rules and enforce them vigorously, or you get all kinds of trouble.

If the US Navy flies in with a bunch of F-18s dropping wads of cash on the place what does that teach the next person that wants to build a nuclear power plant? Will they also have the US Navy willing to save them if they screw up?

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Disclaimer: I am an engineer but not a nuclear engineer, mechanical engineer, chemical engineer, or industrial engineer. My education included electrical, computer, and software engineering.


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PostPosted: Aug 28, 2017 6:12 am 
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Kurt Sellner wrote:
I can understand the enthusiasm of making this a success but . . .
Thank you, Kurt, for your practical analysis of my idealism. As a lay PRO-nuclear-energy citizen and one who wishes to see MSR tech compete, the VC Summer build has already committed billions and I hate to see it wasted.

I am naive and not knowledgeable enough and I'm always attempting to learn. But it seems MSR tech deserves a chance in the highly-regulated energy markets. Big municipal energy projects have many notable times needed help from government and general revenues—first-mover costs companies historically avoid.

The U.S. military budget is estimated to be substantially larger than the combined military budgets of most of the rest of the world paid for out of U.S. taxes. My suggestion is reallocate a relatively small slice of the pie in support of domestic nuclear energy production that would improve many markets, raise the economies, grow the tax base—a peace-time process of moving efforts toward production instead of destruction!

The two Vogtle AP1000s together with the two at VC Summer and the remaining fleet of U.S. LWRs can feed their SNF to MCSFRs being designed by TerraPower and Elysium, and the Flibe Energy LFTR-49/23 machines, and there are other MSR companies that are starting up. And that process is the advent of the GEN-IV in domestic nuclear energy production. This is why the VC Summer machines should be completed by some workable financial agreement of some kind.

Kirk Sorensen wrote:
http://www.thestate.com/news/politics-government/article169391032.html
Thank you, Kirk, for the reality check. Looks like over $9 billion is down the tubes? I may be a naive idealist, but that $9 billion ought to have been invested in the "new" MSR power machines of some sort. What a waste!

I appreciate "states rights" but impacts of many modern technologies in energy and beyond make federally organized efforts necessary. Jim Kennedy (ThREE Consulting) reports that command decisions by the PRC in REEs has beaten the "free" markets in that game. It seems to me a balancing act between Keynes and Friedman economic policies.

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PostPosted: Aug 31, 2017 8:41 am 
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Southern Co. decides to press ahead with Vogtle expansion

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Westinghouse's parent, Toshiba Corp., has pledged $3.7 billion in payments to Vogtle regardless of whether the reactors are built. Toshiba must start making those payments in October to help underwrite the project. Georgia Power's decision to continue building Vogtle is no surprise, but the electric company does not have the final say in whether Vogtle gets finished. That is up to the Georgia Public Service Commission. The PSC filing will trigger a six-month review, which will give the company and commission time to see whether Toshiba makes its first payment, of $300 million, in October.


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PostPosted: Aug 31, 2017 9:25 am 
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Thanks for the update, Kirk. It'd be nice if the more experienced here would comment and give an analysis. Especially with respect to the struggle for new LWR tech (Vogtle and VC Summer AP1000s) and MSR tech in the U.S.

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PostPosted: Sep 02, 2017 1:45 pm 
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For sake of variety, some good news:

Georgia Power Files to Complete Vogtle Expansion


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PostPosted: Sep 03, 2017 12:12 am 
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Does anyone know whether competing reactors like the VVER, Hualong 1, APR 1400 or EPR 1600, use canned coolant pumps like the AP1000 ?


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PostPosted: Sep 03, 2017 5:17 am 
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Not as I understand it.

Additionally I am not sure if the AP1000 could be referred to as a 'true' canned rotor pump.
Whilst the rotor is indeed hermetically sealed from the outside world and requires no seals, as far as I can tell the barrier is actually outside the stator coils, it appears to actually be a 'wet stator' pump.

Apparently significant design effort was invested in an XLPE cable insulation system that could survive contact with reactor fluid for long periods, they are cable wound and potentially quite high voltage.


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PostPosted: Sep 03, 2017 6:23 am 
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Yes, the AP1000 is technically not using canned rotor pumps, as the stator is wet as well, so wet motor or canned motor pump would be a better technical description. I think they switched during uprating from AP600 to AP1000; likely canned rotors for the higher capacity pumps required were considered too difficult or inefficient, perhaps. ABWRs and any other modern BWRs use wet stator type pumps, running fine for decades, though they are much smaller in rating per pump.

CAP-1400 is looking at either canned rotor or wet motor pumps. Some mention of at least one VVER offering using this.

If these MW class canned rotor/wet stator pumps can be implemented succesfully, there's a potentially enormous market for these things - especially outside the application for PWR coolant pumps. Refineries, steam plants, air separation units, you name it.


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PostPosted: Sep 03, 2017 12:44 pm 
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Cyril R wrote:
For sake of variety, some good news:

http://ansnuclearcafe.org/2017/08/31/ge ... MTUAx.dpbs
"The expected completion dates are now November 2021 for Vogtle Unit 3, and one year later for Unit 4." Thanks for the post, Cyril. In a related Toshiba item:
The cycle works like this: the plant operators initially feed pure oxygen, carbon dioxide, and natural gas into a combustor, which ignites the gas. The main by-products from that process are hot water and a lot of supercritical CO2, which acts as an efficient "working fluid" [better than steam] for driving the adjacent turbine. In turn, the carbon dioxide goes through a series of compressors, pumps, and heat exchangers, all of which help recuperate as much of the heat as possible and return the carbon dioxide to the beginning of the cycle.
The article omits the "turbine" is a Toshiba creation with patented metal alloys.

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