Similar Posts

Recent Comments from our Readers

  1. Avatar
  2. Avatar
  3. Avatar
  4. Avatar
  5. Avatar

23 Comments

  1. We’ll see how much Moniz extorted as a premium for the risk sometime later.  Or maybe the administration sees the writing on the wall.

        1. Congressmen from Uranium producing states have officially protested in writing a week ago on DOE’s uranium dumping

          1. Here is the full article. 2 notes worth reading

            1) There was a tradition for the DOE not to sell more than 10% of market for the longest time. Monz has decided to let go of this constraint. He is a big boy.

            2) Uranium mines are closing and jobs are being lost in the US because of depressed Uranium prices.

            So here is the full text:

            Letter to US Energy Secretary Focuses Attention on DOE Uranium Sales
            Members of Congress who represent uranium-producing states have restated concerns about future US Department of Energy (DOE) uranium inventory dispositions in a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz this week. The February 4 letter discussed concerns regarding DOE’s Excess Uranium Inventory Management Plan, as well as ongoing transfers of government inventory into the market at a time when uranium prices are at “seven-year lows and domestic producers are struggling to survive.”

            The congressional group, including 12 US representatives from six Western states,1 highlighted DOE’s approval in May 2012, of a plan that allows it to sell or transfer more than two times the total amount of uranium that is produced by the domestic industry in a given year. (At that time, then-US Energy Secretary Steven Chu issued a Secretarial Determination that stated “Departmental sales or transfers will not have an adverse effect on the domestic uranium mining, conversion, or enrichment industries,” which referred to a five-party deal announced that month between DOE and US uranium enricher USEC, and also involved Energy Northwest, the Bonneville Power Administration, and the Tennessee Valley Authority, which extended uranium enrichment operations at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion facility by about one year.)

            Lawmakers asked DOE to explain its position that the Department’s uranium sales and transfers are not having an adverse material impact on the domestic uranium industries, as well as what considerations the Department studied when making its 2012 decision on sales and transfers.

            The group also asked DOE to consider that future uranium stockpile dispositions be “orderly, predictable, and designed to limit the effect on domestic producers,” and encouraged the Department to reconsider its recent Excess Uranium Inventory Management Plan, issued in July 2013, which identifies uranium inventories that are anticipated to potentially enter the market through the end of 2018. One of the most important changes in the new Plan involves the removal of DOE’s previous guideline that uranium inventory transfers should not exceed 10 percent of total annual US fuel requirements. DOE said, based on experience gained since issuing its 2008 Plan, the Department can meet its statutory and policy objectives through uranium sales or transfers without an “established guideline.”

            1 The letter was signed by US Representatives Cynthia M. Lummis of Wyoming; Stevan Pearce of New Mexico; Jim Matheson of Utah; Adrian Smith of Nebraska; Cory Gardner, Scott Tipton, and Doug Lamborn of Colorado; and Ruben Hinojosa, Michael Burgess, Gene Green, Blake Farenthold, and Joe Barton of Texas. [top]

  2. Where wise men fear to tread, may I posit little mileage sitting around hoping “somebody else will fix the problem?”

  3. Hopefully the NG, climate and economic situation has spurred our gov and the Japanese to become more aggressive ushering in and restarting NPPs.

    Jan was looking like around the fourth warmest on record globally according to the NASA global average temps.

    Last fall when I though we may see a few ice storms because the climate seemed to be following a 2002-2003 type year I believe I noted those years were also years of strong spring storms. That could start early and become more evident in the next several days.

    The east coast and central northern plains are still however likely to see more winter weather. The NE into early march at least. Gas prices probably wont fall all that much in the near future.

    Well back to the garden (very warm here in N fla today – near80!). Hope the loans go through, thats over 2.2 GW net of high capacity, reliable, low land use, clean electricity!!!

    1. Forth warmest Jan by NOAA too:

      The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for January was the warmest since 2007 and the fourth warmest on record at 12.7°C (54.8°F), or 0.65°C (1.17°F) above the 20th century average of 12.0°C (53.6°F). The margin of error associated with this temperature is ± 0.08°C (± 0.14°F).

      Also Notable:

      France’s nationally-averaged January 2014 temperature was 2.7°C (4.9°F) above the 1981–2010 average, tying with 1988 and 1936 as the warmest January on record.

      Spain experienced its warmest January since 1996 and the third warmest since national records began in 1961, with a temperature of 9°C (48.2°F) or 2°C (3.6°F) above the 1971–2000 average.

      The January temperature in Switzerland was 2.4°C (4.3°F) above the 1981–2010 average—the fifth warmest January since national records began 150 years ago.

  4. More than 4 years later and terms for not quite 80% of the guarantee settled.

    I hope the reduction in interest rates was worth it.

    1. @Joffan

      One participant has not yet reached final agreement. That is what accounts for the $1.8 billion difference between the promised $8.3 billion and the $6.5 billion that will be signed tomorrow. I suspect that the holdout has cheaper sources of funds in the municipal bond market.

  5. Sec. Moniz to Georgia, Energy Department Scheduled to Close on Loan Guarantees to Construct New Nuclear Power Plant Reactors

    Building on President Obama’s State of the Union address to Congress and the American public last month, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz today announced at the National Press Club that he will be traveling to Waynesboro, Georgia tomorrow, February 20, to mark the issuance of approximately $6.5 billion in loan guarantees for the construction of two new nuclear reactors at the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant. The project represents the first new nuclear facilities in the U.S. to begin construction and receive NRC license in nearly three decades. In addition, the deployment of two new 1,100 megawatt Westinghouse AP1000® nuclear reactors is a first-mover for a new generation of advanced nuclear reactors.

  6. I didn’t see a link to the talk. It is a positive talk.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7onN7iFT7_4

    Note that he didn’t dance away from giving future loan guarantees to small modular reactors. Although, I think he’d be out of office before that could happen.

    Side Issue: Talk was about the US exporting gas and oil. Sounds like some long term planning may be needed as King Hubbert’s ghost still lurks.

  7. Yikes … Matthew Wald holds nothing back on reviewing loan program, and congratulating Vogtle (and it’s customers) on projected cost savings.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/19/business/energy-environment/loan-program-for-reactors-is-fizzling.html?_r=0

    “Little in the nuclear loan guarantees program has gone as planned.” With fanfare to kick off a nuclear resurgence, program was announced in 2005. Initial funding was $17.5 in lending authority, and was upped to $36 billion in 2011 with bipartisan support (an eventual $50 billion was envisioned). Areva wins authorization for a loan, but cancels it’s construction plans. Constellation Energy backs out of the process. USEC “is having a hard time convincing the department that it is a good investment.”

    Even I see problems with the summary (namely, a clear lack of context). Glut in natural gas, Fukushima, renewables (which promise a regular and relatively fixed and quick return), recession and energy efficiency programs, intransigence on carbon caps, and more. Timing is a factor (among other concerns), but it would have been useful to have discussed many of these issues (and provided a broader context for readers).

    I’m all for better information. This article only tells part of the story.

    1. This article only tells part of the story.

      Such is life under a deadline . But thanks. Some choice bits:

      The department has negotiated for years with the Vogtle reactors’ builders over loan terms. Southern had asserted that it would take the loan if the terms were better than it could get on the commercial market. The reactors are scheduled to enter service in 2018 and 2019…

      The lead company in the Summer project, South Carolina Electric and Gas, intends to go it alone. Stephen A. Byrne, the company’s chief operating officer, told analysts on Feb. 13 that it was easier to raise money commercially. “Everything we offer is oversubscribed,” Mr. Byrne said. Getting a government loan guarantee requires extensive financial disclosures to the federal government, and paying fees. “I’m not sure why I’d want to,” he said.

      Why, the miserable ingrates! What part of :”Free Money!!!” don’t these guys understand? Sheeeeesh!

      1. Haha, free money that you have to pay for twice; once for the guarantee fees and again for the interest.

        My suspicion is that the department that was setting the guarantee fees tried to incorporate the risks that the government itself imposes on the process of nuclear new build. And the companies actually building were having none of it.

        In any case, as Byrne says, if you can raise cheap money yourself anyway, why invite the government’s complications into the process?

        1. It’s almost perfectly analogous to student loans, except that the principals in this case have other options.

          When getting a student loan, the loan officer at the school carefully calculates your need. That’s how much money you’ll need to pay your fees and bills and maybe get a bite to eat during the semester. It is not a generous allocation (at least, it wasn’t back in the early 90s).

          Then you go to the loan company, and they make you the loan, but they take a 3% cut, right off the top as an “origination fee” or some such. And then, after that, you get to pay interest.

          So, you actually get 3% (or more) less than the stingy amount that was calculated as your need. And 3% up front on a loan is a huge cost in terms of time value of money.

          I totally sympathize with the construction companies. These loan guarantees are more of a ripoff than a benefit, just like the student loans.

    2. @EL

      I’m all for better information. This article only tells part of the story.

      As Ed Leaver said – Such is life under a deadline. It is also life under the space constraints of a print publication. As a writer, I’m sympathetic and recognize that no one can ever tell a complete story.

      renewables (which promise a regular and relatively fixed and quick return)

      Talk about telling only part of the story. Your parenthetical overlooks the extensive array of financial incentives that support renewable energy projects. A partial list of those incentives includes:
      – pressure on customers to purchase the product (even at elevated prices and with no delivery guarantees – ever)
      – favorable tax treatment (in the form of accelerated depreciation allowances, often with bonus schedules)
      – loan guarantees with the government paying the Credit Subsidy Cost
      – investment tax credits of up to 30% of total project cost, (apparently) no responsibility for transmission infrastructure improvements
      – plenty of government sponsored “official technology” marketing pressure (to use a term provided by Cohn in his book “Too Cheap to Meter”).

      Of course, not every renewable project is eligible for the same array of incentives. Some get more, some get less. It is quite complicated to unravel each deal. That is true of most large financial transactions (including those associated with my favored technology of nuclear energy), especially since some of the information is never made public due to its proprietary nature. However, when the taxpayer is a party to the deal, there should be more disclosure required.

      I will grant that it is a lot easier to make money quickly by investing in renewables in the United States under the current market structure.

      Several acquaintances who have done very well on Wall Street have been telling me that for years.

  8. “Of course, not every renewable project is eligible for the same array of incentives. Some get more,”

    You got that right. Rod – Many hydro plants were built before the turn of the last century. Since that time, things have been learned that could get more output from these plants. Since the plants are installed capacity, they don’t get the breaks that windmills do. Hydro is probably the best renewable source.

Comments are closed.