The Atomic Show #025 – Amarillo Power plans
The big news since Shane and I last talked is the announcement by a Texan named George Chapman of the formation of Amarillo Power and its plans to build two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWR) near Amarillo Texas. Shane questions the location based on his frequent drives through the area. Water might be an issue, but there are probably solutions that are not readily visible. Customer location is also a question. However, the indications are that Mr. Chapman is a serious, experienced businessman with a plan. He once worked for Bechtel and helped to build the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station as a welder in his younger days.
I also talk quite a bit about the discussions going on at the American Nuclear Society Utility Working Conference at Amelia Island. Lots of positive talk about new nuclear plant construction and the amount of work – translate that as jobs – that will need to be done in order to rebuild the infrastructure for manufacturing reactors and their components.
Here are some links to the stories we mention in the show about the Amarillo Power ABWR project.
Nuclear power plant sought (1 August)
Editorial: Nuclear plant in our future (6 August)
Nuclear facility years away (2 August)
Nuke plants get incentives (5 August)
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Itunes isn’t showing episode #25, and it just doesn’t seem to exist as a downloadable mp3.
The comment box does recognize URLs and HTML code so you don’t have to create the HTML file in your text editor.
I find this (i.e. creating a small HTML file with the correct URL) a handy way of downloading an MP3 file if the provided URL is incorrect.
Thanks for letting me know. It is always good to have some listeners providing the QA.
Your Amarillo show was interesting, but you need to understand that the Texas Panhandle is not part of ERCOT, but is part of the Southwest Power Pool. Essentially, Amarillo was such an isolated place that when the grids were organized, it was not practical to put the old Southwestern Public Service (now Xcel Energy) into ERCOT. The water question may be bigger than you think: local conservation district rules require one acre of surface land to draw one acre-foot of water.
As for streets named for Helium in Amarillo, there is only one, Helium Road, where one of the Helium plants was located.
Thank you very much for your comment. This sheds a different light on the business opportunity since ERCOT and the Southwest Power Pool function with quite different market dynamics.
I now need to do some additional research to figure out if the difference is beneficial to Amarillo Power or not. My sense, without detailed research is that the price for electricity is currently higher in ERCOT, but that the price there is quite volatile since it is tightly linked to the price of natural gas.
Do you know how far the boundaries of the local conservation district extend? Are there areas within reasonably close proximity that have less water restrictions? I recognize that cooling is going to be one of the more interesting engineering and environmental challenges for this project.
Thanks for the correction concerning Helium Rd. I’d misheard that there were more streets around town carrying the name; I’ve seen the signs for Helium Rd. while turning around to get back to the restaurant row on the service road between Coulter and Soncy. Do you know if there are any museums in town focussed on the history of the helium extraction business there?
I am VERY concerned about the water usage for a nuclear reactor. The water would have to come from the Ogallala water aquifer which is already decreasing at an alarming rate. The only other water source is Lake Meredith which is at an all time low. If we need an alternative energy source, why doesn’t someone develope more wind farms and solar energy? We have plently of wind and sun around here and neither uses water. How much water would a nuclear reactor use in one day? shelia
Your concern about water usage by a nuclear generating station is well-founded. Any steam generating plant, whether it is fossil or nuclear fired, requires a huge amount of cooling water. For example, the fossil-fired Harrington and Nichols plants; located just north of Amarillo, produce a combined fifteen hundred megawatts of electricity. They consume approximately twenty three million gallons of water a day. this water is reclaimed waste water from the city of Amarillo.
The proposed 2700 megawatt nuclear station proposed to be located “in the vicinity of Amarillo” would consume as much as ten billion gallons of water per year; depending on the electrical output of the plant. “In the vicinity of Amarillo” the only source of water is the Ogallala aquifer, which is a finite source of water. The Ogallala is the life-blood of the Panhandle.
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