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  1. if TVA can pull these two reactors (or really just one) from oblivion, perhaps there is hope also for WPPSS No. 1. This also is a terminated B&W 205 type reactor. All of the operating B&W reactors are 177 units.
    The only 205 unit that has operated is Mulheim-Karelich in Germany which was shut down after about one year of operation because of a construction discrepancy. B&W was marketing and building the 205 assembly reactors as an evolutionary improvement when the nuclear market collapsed. The 205 is considerably more powerful than the 177. Actually the 205 is slightly more powerful than the AP1000 which is the TVA alternative.
    Bill

    1. Bill, getting WPPSS No. 1 built would be a wonderful ideal. Here is a chance for environmentalists to show their true colors. They have pushed for the removal of dams from the Snake River. If those dams were replaced with reactors, I could see myself joining them in the cause. If they then supported the constuction of the two remaining planned reactors, I would be overjoyed.

  2. Wonders will never cease, a newspaper that actually gets it.
    I’ve seen this before when the people near the Point Lepreau Generating Station, in New Brunswick, almost ran several high-profile antinuclear types out of town on a rail, when they came to protest the refurbishment of the existing reactor and the plans to build another unit beside it. The Canadian Maritimes tend to be somewhat insular anyway, and the were in no mood for those from Ontario trying to tell them what they should or should not do, particularly with a piece of technology that they were proud of.
    I personally think that if we pushed a bit in many places, we would find that NIMBY is razor thin, most people following because they have been told that the value of their property will fall. Although it wasn’t stated outright, obviously this editorial shows that the writer understands that an influx of high paying jobs into a community is more likely to push property values UP, not down. We need to make note of this, and add it to our list of arguments. I think it might be a very powerful one.

  3. TVA announced last year that its environmental impact statement for Bellefonte (the one it has to prepare because it’s a federal agency considering a major action, not the EIS done by the NRC for reactor licensing) would contain three options: the completion of one old Bellefonte reactor, the construction of one AP1000, and doing nothing at all. Sorry to nitpick, but your reference to completion of the “two existing . . . reactors” or construction of “two new Westinghouse AP1000” reactors is a bit more ambitious than TVA seems to be considering right now. More than one reactor could eventually operate at the site, but (as I understand this) TVA would have to write yet another EIS to see if that would be acceptable.

  4. Rod, I would assume that you do most of your sailing in the Chesapeake bay area but have you ever been up in the Nantucket Sound? I am very disappointed today that Cape Wind made it past another hurdle and comes closer to ruining my favorite vacation spot.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/29/us/29wind.html
    I doubt they’ll survive the tropical storms we tend to get.

    1. @Carletes – Yes, I have sailed in the Nantucket Sound. It is a beautiful place with excellent winds – for sailboats. Those winds will produce exceedingly expensive and unreliable power if ever harvested for that purpose. The argument to use against offshore wind projects is the same one effectively used against nuclear energy – they cost too much. Of course, there were many cost drivers in nuclear plant construction that were purposely imposed by either opponents or vendors that can be overcome, while the same is NOT true of offshore wind.

  5. TVA’s debt situation will probably limit it to completing one or 2 big reactor a decade. Watts Bar ii gets completed by 2013, so resources will be available for Bellefonte 1 to be complete by 2018 or so. Some time during the second half of this decade TVA will revisit the question of Bellefonte II completion. This is a bigger project than Unit I, and financing would bump hard against TVA debt limits. It also has to be asked if TVA would want to complete a 50 year old reactor design.

    1. I was under the impression that Bellefonte 1 was nearly complete. At least, the NRC photos seem to indicate this…and it appears to have been kept in good shape.

  6. katana, the operative tense in your sentence is past tense, WAS nearly completed. Unit 1 was approximately 88% complete. Around 2005, I think, TVA started selling off parts from Bellefonte pretty extensively. They sold the tubes in the steam generators since the price of whatever that metal was rather high. From all of the scrapping, I think the current estimate is that Unit 1 may be around 58% complete. I think I’ve read estimates that completing Unit 1 will cost about $4.5 Billion.

    1. Don’t get me wrong, I love the TVA, they’re our government at its’ greatest, and they are, indeed, one of the most successful ventures that we’ve ever undertaken as a nation, a quiet success but a brilliant one, that secured an industrial future for an entire region of the nation that was once a relative backwater. So this isn’t criticism of the TVA in general, but their decision in this case.
      Here’s my question. If you’ve preserved something in near-mint, installed, operable condition for 30 years, and then you turn around and sell it for scrap (Inconel or what have you), isn’t that an example of extreme shortsightedness? After all, the majority of the value of the steam generators and the other heavy plant equipment is not in their raw materials or even their worth as a complete assembled unit, but rather the value lies in the position they are in: that they are there, ready to be used, installed and certified and tested.
      Kind of like the timing belt of a car, in fact: a scrap of rubber worth $.50, but utterly essential to its operation, and if it breaks, so does the car, and you have to get under the car and fiddle around for four or five hours or pay a mechanic $500 to put in a new one. The value of the timing belt is not in the rubber of the belt, but in the fact that it is there, that it is installed, and this value in the timing belt is only apparent to the owner – or potential buyer – of the car. Just as in this case, the value of things like steam generators is in that they are there; the value is to the owner of the plant. Selling perfectly good steam generators for scrap seems a bit misguided unless the TVA was fearing liquidation, and I doubt that it was back in 2005.
      It’s as if some accountant went to Athens, looked at the Acropolis, and said, “oh, there’s around $5000 worth of marble here. I wonder if I can get the Greeks to sell it to me for $7500?” Though the Greeks are in dire straits right now, I can’t imagine they’d sell it for $7500 billion.

      1. Though the TVA decision to scrap Bellefonte were nearly criminal, they were made and now the owners are taking action – at enormous cost – to recover what they gave up.
        On the other hand, there is a completed and formerly operated plant on Lake Michigan with the capacity to produce nearly 2200 MW of emission free electricity. As far as I know Zion has been reasonably well preserved since its shutdown in 1996, but Exelon is working fast to turn the plant over to Energy Solutions for scrapping. That will permanently remove the potential of that large supply ever coming back into a shrinking market and driving down the very profitable electricity prices to a level that might even help the economic recovery of what was once a vibrant industrial area.
        If anyone has any influence at Exelon, please ask them why they are not considering the possibility of restoring Zion like TVA restored Browns Ferry. It would require a significant investment, but I would bet that investment would be about 1/4 of the cost of building that amount of capacity from scratch. I would also bet that the project could be completed in several fewer years than a new plant.

    2. Couldn’t a decision to scrap Zion be considered an anti-competitive practice, or a market-fixing practice? You have this power plant ready to produce power, just sitting there, power that would undoubtedly lower prices. The owner won’t run it, and the owner won’t sell it. Instead they want to scrap it. Something that could be regarded as an anti-competitive step.
      If a serious buyer came along, and made a serious offer for the plant, perhaps Exelon could be forced to not scrap the plant under competition law, as they seem to have a financial interest in scrapping it? Perhaps a value investor – someone who appreciates the worth of assets that others regard as liabilities. The plant’s value lies in the fact that it’s there, regardless of what condition it’s in, as long as the RPV and the steam generators are recoverable, then if Exelon won’t run it, perhaps someone else can. It could probably be bought and turned into a money-printing machine…like other nuclear plants have been.
      Oh, by the way, Bellefonte gets scrapped in 2005, the Fast Flux Test Facility gets drilled in 2005, and Zion continues to sit around in a mothballed state. Almost like some kind of conspiracy to hurt the long term viability of the nuclear enterprise. I wonder if any fossil money – or fossil lobbying – is involved.

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