Hat tip to Ruth Sponsler at We Support Lee
Reuters reports that two utility groups have filed applications for separate licenses with the NRC to build and operate four new nuclear reactors in Georgia and South Carolina. The applications come at a time when rising costs for major forgings, steel, and concrete are challenging the resurgence of the nuclear energy industry. Surging demand for electricity is the reason the utilities are going ahead with plans for the new plants.
The significance of the filing by the South Carolina Electric & Gas and Santee Cooper for two new reactors at the Summer Nuclear Station is that last January the project was taken off the table due to the rising costs. Now the company is back to finish the job.
At the same time the Southern Nuclear Operating Co. said it has filed a combined construction and operating license (COL) with the NRC to build two new reactors at the Vogtle Electric Generating plant near Waynesboro, GA.
The filings are the eighth and ninth applications submitted to the NRC since 2007. It is the first time the agency received two applications in a single day. All four units are specified as Westinghouse AP1000s which have a generating capacity of 1,100 MWe.
By the end of 2010 the agency expects to receive as many as 22 applications for nearly three dozen reactors. The NRC license review is expected to take up to four years. State regulatory agencies in Georgia and South Carolina are expected to act much sooner.
Both utilities said they are filing now to take advantage of financial incentives for loan guarantees in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and because future plans for coal-fired plants would have to face growing concerns about global warming from fossil fuel greenhouse gases.
Neither utility stated costs, but at $3,000/Kw, the plants could come in at $3.3 billion per unit for a total of $13.2 billion for all four. The plants could start coming online as early as 2016.
The CEOs of both firms said they are committed to nuclear energy.
"We expect demand for electricity in the Southeast, specifically in Georgia, to increase significantly by 2015 and beyond," said Southern Nuclear president Barnie Beasley
"We're confident that new nuclear is the right decision for South Carolina," said Kevin Marsh, SCE&G president, in a statement.
NuStart leverages industry information
SCE&G is part of the NuStart energy development consortium formed in 2004 by 10 U.S. energy companies and two nuclear reactor vendors. NuStart is helping utilities cut costs by providing standardized engineering information for COL applications.
The firm also signed an agreement with Westinghouse and Shaw Group for purchase of long lead time materials. Shaw will provide engineering and construction services for the Summer Nuclear Station. CEO Marsh said his firm plans to complete the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contract as soon as possible.
Bloomber reports that Southern has signed an EPC contract with Westinghouse and Shaw for two Ap1000s. The new units would be built at the Vogtle power plant site.