The great state of Texas seems to be poised to become the nuclear capital of the US based on the number of new nuclear plants that have been proposed for the state.
TXU, Exelon, NRG and Amarillo Power have all proposed major new nuclear power plant projects in Texas, already the home of 4 of the US’s largest operating nuclear power plants.
The main current fuel for electrical power production in the state is natural gas, with coal and nuclear sharing most of the remaining market. Recent activity against a proposal by TXU to build 11 large coal fired power plants has added to the interest in nuclear power as a low cost, low emission source of electricity.
For the past several years, Texas, which deregulated its electricity generation several years ago, has experienced some of the highest electrical prices in the nation, averaging somewhat higher than 10 USD cents per kilowatt hour, or more than $100 per megawatt hour.
The average cost of generating electricity using existing nuclear power plants is about $16 per MW-hour. In a deregulated market, that spread between price and cost represents a tremendous profit opportunity, one that might even cause private companies to take the risk of building nuclear power plants without the guaranteed cost recovery that is available in regulated markets.
Texas will continue to be an interesting place to watch the nuclear industry develop its competitive juices and might even be a good place to build some Adams Engines(TM).