Development of two new nuclear units in Texas could be delayed or put further at risk after estimates for the reactors rose 30% last month to $17 billion. The price escalation shocked San Antonio, Texas, municipal utility CPS Energy, which has a 40% stake in the South Texas Project in Matagorda County. The company’s board of trustees ordered an investigation into whether information about the price escalation for the 1,358- MW advanced boiling water reactor units was kept hidden. “A cost estimate that exceeds our preliminary total project cost of $13 billion is not acceptable and will result in CPS
A new power-transmission project on the Texas-New Mexico border will facilitate movement of power throughout the U.S. from booming alternative-energy developments in the Southwest. One of those developments, a 600-MW Texas wind farm, will be built with funds and equipment from China. The announcements last month of the two projects strengthens the region’s position as a leader in renewable energy and highlights China’s growing U.S. investment. + Image Source: American Superconductor Corp. Tres Amigas Superstation The Tres Amigas SuperStation in Clovis, N.M., will link the Texas Interconnection to the nation’s other two electrical grids, the Eastern and Western interconnections. With
The Dept. of Energy has awarded $3.4 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants to modernize the electric power grid and boost its efficiency and reliability. Related Links: Grant Awards by Category (141 KB) Smart Grid Grant Locations (568 KB) The federal money will be supplemented by more than $4.7 billion in private-sector matching funds, DOE said. President Obama, announcing the 100 "smart grid investment grants" on Oct. 27 at a Florida Power & Light Co. solar energy facility in Arcadia, Fla., called the spending "the largest-ever investment in a smarter, stronger and more secure electric grid."
In an Oct. 15 letter, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has informed Westinghouse Electric Co. that it will have to modify design of the shield building for its proposed AP1000 nuclear reactor before the agency proceeds on its certification review. The NRC letter says Westinghouse must also retest any design changes to the shield building, the structure that protects the reactor’s primary containment from weather and other impacts, to make sure the structure meets safety requirements. NRC says it won’t know if and how the required redesign could impact the AP1000 review schedule until it meets with Westinghouse. In a
Construction now is under way on both the Shin Kori Units 3 and 4 nuclear powerplants. These units will be the first of a new generation of light-water reactors called Advanced Power Reactors in South Korea that use a domestic design developed by Korea Power Engineering Co. Both reactors will be 1,400 MW. The oceanfront site in Gori is located about 30 km north of Busan in southeastern South Korea. Excavation work began in January 2008, the first concrete for Shin Kori Unit 3 was poured in October 2008 and work on the reactor containment building currently is under way.
As the U.S. Dept. of Energy and its contractors rev up construction of permanent repositories for nuclear wastes now lingering in aging, corroded and heavily contaminated facilities at some of the agency’s former weapons-production sites, new technology is helping cleanup crews get at the nastiest and toughest-to-remove remnants. Photo: Washington River Proltection Solutions Robotic arm system, now being tested at the Hanford nuclear waste site, will reach deep into storage tanks and break up different forms of waste. At DOE’s Hanford site in eastern Washington, officials are using insect-like crawlers to prowl the radioactive floors of 177 enormous underground waste
The renewable-energy sector got a boost on Oct. 7 when the Dept. of Energy announced it will expand its loan guarantee program to commercial renewable-energy projects under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. DOE also unveiled a new Financial Institution Partnership program (FIPP) to expedite the agency’s loan-guarantee underwriting process and leverage private-sector expertise in funding eligible projects. Renewable-energy advocates say by expanding the loan-guarantee program to cover commercial, rather than just “innovative” projects, DOE will enable more renewable-energy projects to be built. But, they add, Congress should restore the $2 billion diverted from the loan-guarantee program to pay for
Duke Energy and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill have signed an agreement for a pilot project to install up to three offshore wind turbines in the state’s Pamlico Sound. Duke and UNC are completing the scoping document for the project, says Duke spokesman Tim Petit. After the scoping document is complete, Duke will issue a request for proposal for engineering and construction services. Turbines would be installed from eight to 10 miles offshore and would have a capacity of about 3.5 MW.
On Oct. 2, Hawaii became the second state to propel alternative energy development by requiring power utilities to buy renewable power at specific prices under long-term contracts, a practice known as “feed-in tariffs.” Widely used in Europe, the rule has been effective in spurring project development, says Jamie Steve, director of government relations for San Francisco-based Pattern Energy Group, formerly Babcock and Brown’s North American energy development group. Vermont adopted similar requirements last month. Hawaii adopted the rule to help the state meet a mandate to have 40% of its power come from renewable sources by 2030. At least 33
The Tennessee Valley Authority will seek engineering and construction proposals next month to convert to dry storage all of its wet-storage impoundments for combustion by-products. The project, which will take until 2020 to complete and could cost up to $2 billion, follows the 2008 failure of a coal-ash pond at the utility’s Kingston, Tenn., powerplant that spilled 5.4 million gallons of waste material over 300 acres and into the Emory River. Cleanup could cost $1.2 billion. Photo: TVA Tennessee ash spill pushes TVA to rethink waste storage at all powerplants. Robert Deacy, TVA senior vice president for clean strategies and