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  1. The lack of fuel diversity and ever-increasing dependence on gas-fired generation in FL is imprudent. A study by the National Electric Reliability Corporation , “Special Reliability Assessment: Potential Bulk Power System Impacts Due to Severe Disruptions on the Natural Gas System,” November 2017, identifies FL along with New England as literally being at the end of the pipeline and having limited gas pipeline capacity, and for FL, 38 gas-generators with only one gas connection. A study by Argonne National Lab, “Modeling Electric Power and Natural Gas Systems Interdependencies,” 2016, found that “The scenario postulates the occurrence of a guillotine (i.e., complete) break on a major interstate transmission pipeline supplying natural gas to the State (of FL), resulting in a 100% reduction in the flow of gas through the pipeline. The pipeline break also disrupts the fuel delivery to a large number of gas-fired power plants in the State. These power plants would cease operation, leading to a Statewide blackout with varying load curtailment intensity ranging from 10% to 100%.” With FL now dependent on natural gas for 70 percent of its generation, lack of fuel diversity poses a risk to the public.

  2. From the main body:
    “Though Georgia Power, the Georgia Public Utility Commission and the other partners in the project decided in December 2017 to continue construction, that decision was based on a cost to complete estimate that has recently grown by another $2.3 billion.”

    This is the increase from the original cost? What is that buying? Isn’t the main structure in place? Are there new requirements? Looks like the ones in China are almost complete.


    Total cost of 25 billion.


    “There is certainly a risk that the cost to complete Vogtle is still underestimated, but the risk that natural gas prices will misbehave should be quantified.”

    To answer my own question, it looks like they have a lot to do yet. This video was from the beginning of the year.


    I guess Bechtel is on the job now. They have rescued nuke plants in the past. (Not Midland)

    I hope they can get this completed or it may set back any US nuclear projects by a generation.

    1. The $2.3 billion is the increase over the estimated total project cost following an intense review of We$tinghouse’s internal design and cost documents made in 2017 to aid in the decision on whether to abandon the project or continue. Oglethorpe power has stated that this one increase will use up 90% of its contingency reserves budgeted for the remainder of the project.

      Georgia Power is saying that they are still having problems hiring qualified craft people and using them efficiently. This is after the abandonment of Summer freed numerous skilled craft people familiar with AP1000 construction. Even if the Vogtle units are completed, this will constrain the deployment of AP1000s domestically. Not to mention the ad hoc supply chain resulting from poorly performing or bankrupt contractors being replaced.

      1. “Georgia Power is saying that they are still having problems hiring qualified craft people and using them efficiently.”

        This is amazing. I wonder which crafts are in such short supply. I had realized that linemen are in somewhat short supply, but hadn’t realized that others would also be in short supply. Did this happen due to the changes in the economy over the last thirty years from a producing economy to a service economy?

        Times are different from when the existing operating nuclear plants were built.

      2. Very interesting on the skilled labor angle.

        The obvious way to deal with it is to move even more of the work from on-site into remote factories with delivery of completed modules.  It may be that the AP1000 design does not allow for much more of this than is already being done.  In that case, it looks like the baton passes to SMRs like NuScale and perhaps ThorCon.

        1. I’m wondering if GA Power is talking about a skills shortage as a prelude to obtaining work visas for experienced AP1000 workers who are rolling off completed projects in China?

      3. You’d think there would be enough difference between the Chinese regulatory requirements and the US version to make that experience difference of little value, if not entirely moot.  I doubt China has anything like the aircraft impact rule, to name just one thing.

        1. @E-P

          I’m not sure how that would affect the usefulness of experienced craft workers. I don’t think GA Power is having difficulty filling engineering, management or licensing positions.

  3. Rod – thanks for the post.

    Interestingly, one of the assumptions used in its prediction that gas prices will remain low is that the amount of electricity generated by US nuclear plants each year will grow by 25 billion kilowatt hours between now and 2030. That assumption – derived from an EIA prediction – rests on completing both Vogtle and VC Summer while also maintaining existing plants through the end of their licensed operation. Think about that assumption in the context of using it as one of the inputs for a decision about whether or not to complete the only remaining nuclear construction project in the US.

    Extremely interestingly. The case for jeapordizing the completion of the reactor relies on completing the reactor AND maintaining all of the exisitng reactors. For me, this invalidates the argument. If this was someone’s term project, what mark would you give it? What would a thesis advisor say?

    It seems like something built to support a conclusion, not a study to explore options to help in planning.

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