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The real deterrent to nuclear power: Plants burn through copious quantities of cash long before...

The real deterrent to nuclear power: Plants burn through copious quantities of cash long before they consume even a pound of uranium. That handicap was laid bare yet again as Duke Energy (DUK) decided to retire its Crystal River plant in Florida, and Centrica pulled out of a new U.K. project. Even in today's cheap-debt world, the economics of sinking billions into a new plant years before it generates revenue doesn't add up.
Comments (12)
  • Glaring headline with no basis to get you to subscribe to the WSJ.
    6 Feb 2013, 10:29 AM Reply Like
  • And the real reason that those nuclear plants burn through copious amounts of cash before they start operating is a copius - and ever changing - amount of government rules, regulations, permits that throw up roadblocks in the way of getting them built and started.

     

    Not to mention all sorts of lawsuits by various eco-socialist agitation groups trying to block them from being built.

     

    In other words, there is nothing inherent in nuclear power that makes it an uneconomical power generation source - it is purely political.
    6 Feb 2013, 11:44 AM Reply Like
  • Yeah, I could build you a nuclear power plant tommorrow if you had some land near your house and the feds would let me do it my way.
    6 Feb 2013, 01:00 PM Reply Like
  • Thankfully,this scary old plant will go away,but wait it takes a decade or to decommision a nuke,and it's dangerous to workers and the public,thankfully we have goverment inspectors and strict rules so expence and corners can't be cut.
    6 Feb 2013, 11:45 AM Reply Like
  • All that money to build a plant seems excessive until you realize that it's hard to heat your home on hope for a mild winter. The natural gas story is great until it isn't anymore. At some point, without cold fusion technology, there is going to be a fuel crises.
    6 Feb 2013, 11:46 AM Reply Like
  • The likelihood of successful cold-fusion technology is just of cut below finding the legendary philosopher's stone. I'm not holding my breath.
    6 Feb 2013, 01:26 PM Reply Like
  • Nuclear is the only solution the global warming problem.
    6 Feb 2013, 12:07 PM Reply Like
  • The Crystal River plant has been offline since 2009, since there is an issue with the containment dome. Duke is still planning on building 2 more nuclear plants in Florida, 2,200 MW, with support from rate payers. Plants are a market by market basis, since electricity markets are different throughout the US. Most utilities preach the need to have a diversified fuel mix, and I think the federal government would agree, so nuclear won't be going away.
    6 Feb 2013, 12:08 PM Reply Like
  • That plant wasn't built by Duke anyway.

     

    It was part of the Progress Energy acquistion.
    7 Feb 2013, 02:41 AM Reply Like
  • They still paid a lot of money for an asset that is now a large liability.
    7 Feb 2013, 08:21 AM Reply Like
  • Some observe The Real Problems are especially Provided thru Licensure schemes to Provide the proprietary Special Access to High Security Access Militantly CLEARED Operatives/service personal to areas in Building Service or Manufacturing Intelligent Operational Control Components necessary to stealthily IN-Crypt Trojan Horse styled Pograms UN-observed, for Later Remote, ON site, Telephonic Satellite or Other Radio-graphic manual actuation That may be readily operating in the Back grounds as SLEEPER AGENT Programs? The manipulation of chemicated Feed Water systems could tactical enable Rapid Eddy Current Chemical augmented degradations of Piping metallurgy, bringing about devisedly Difficult to detect Designed FAILURES to provide Timed pretensive Political propaganda?
    The Enemy; likely LIES withIN, as well as WithOUT? Could NOT a Sleeper Program and or Agent Bring about the CONvienient novel nuances? Perhaps Examination of special sectarian interests of the N.R.C."s Licensing Board of CommissionCZARS should be due diligently Investigated, or purportedly High Security Cleared agents provocateurs be RE-Examined?
    Many men Know many Things; NO man Knows every Thing? Some One Knows Some Thing? Whom KNOWS?
    7 Feb 2013, 02:25 AM Reply Like
  • NEI's Richard Myers wrote the following response to a previous WSJ article that touched on the same subject matter. I think his point still applies.

     

    Electricity production issues are not quite as cut-and-dried as portrayed in the article, certainly not from the vantage point of energy companies who must evaluate an array of factors to determine what their future generating mix will and will not be. A nuclear energy facility produces benefits well beyond the electricity it generates. They include economic benefits like jobs, taxes and procurement; grid reliability benefits in the form of voltage support and ancillary services; the environmental benefit of avoided emissions; and the energy security benefits of an electricity source that adds diversity and forward price stability to the electricity supply portfolio.

     

    It also bears noting that extremely low natural gas prices in the United States are not sustainable. Low natural gas prices are caused by a combination of reduced demand for natural gas (due to subpar economic growth), abnormally mild weather for the past several winters and a major increase in supply (due to improved drilling techniques that have unlocked vast reserves of shale gas). As the result of low gas prices, producers of natural gas have already slowed drilling: the number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States has dropped approximately 50 percent in the past 12 months. At the same time, the historic volatility of natural gas prices continues to be seen in the spot market. Just last week, natural gas prices in New England and New York City topped $30 per million BTUs, the highest level seen this winter, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. For New England, this was actually the highest level seen since January 2004.

     

    Judgments about the viability of any given nuclear power plant are business decisions made by individual utilities based on economic circumstances unique to the facility. The Nuclear Energy Institute’s long-term belief is that, beyond the ongoing construction of five reactors in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, new nuclear energy facilities will be built once electricity demand rebounds. Demand for electricity in the United States has not yet returned to the level seen in 2007, before the financial crisis.
    7 Feb 2013, 02:29 AM Reply Like
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