Economics stopped another reactor, this time in Alabama, less than a week after San Onofre. But more are still in the works.
Brian Wingfield wrote for Bloomberg Businessweek yesterday, TVA Shelves Work at Alabama Nuclear Plant Amid Industry Struggle,
“Over the past few months, TVA has been looking across the company, including at our nuclear construction projects, to determine the work that is most important to perform,” Mike Skaggs, the TVA senior vice president for nuclear construction, said in the statement. “Hard decisions are necessary.”
The U.S. nuclear industry is wrestling with competition from a glut of natural gas, which has lowered its price and made the fuel more attractive for electric utilities. At the same time, U.S. regulators are writing safety rules following a triple meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant in 2011.
The fracking backlash is building against natural gas. And guess what’s even cheaper? Solar power. Looks like Forbes was right to wonderback in January, New Centralized Nuclear Plants: Still an Investment Worth Making? It’s like GM CEO Immelt said a year ago:
Nuclear power is so expensive compared with other forms of energy that it has become “really hard” to justify, according to the chief executive of General Electric, one of the world’s largest suppliers of atomic equipment….
“When I talk to the guys who run the oil companies they say look, they’re finding more gas all the time. It’s just hard to justify nuclear, really hard. Gas is so cheap and at some point, really, economics rule,” Mr Immelt told the Financial Times in an interview in London at the weekend. “So I think some combination of gas, and either wind or solar … that’s where we see most countries around the world going.”
And that was before Edison Electric Institute warned distributed solar energy will disrupt utilities that don’t change their cozy centry-long big baseload business model, as in:
“irreparable damages to revenues and growth prospects”
EEI gets it that Moore’s Law for solar is driving prices down and deployments up like compound interest. As a stock trader remarked, solar power is going to beat every other energy source so fast it will “make your jaw drop with astonishment.”
Next nuke to stop: Watts Bar 2, as the Bloomberg article notes:
The TVA will cut spending for Bellefonte to $66 million in the year ending Sept. 30, 2014, from $182 million this year, as it seeks to complete its Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) southwest of Knoxville.
But that’s not all. See next post.