Nuclear Power 2010 Program

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The "Nuclear Power 2010 Program" was launched in 2002 by President George W. Bush in order to restart orders for nuclear power reactors in the U.S. by providing subsidies for a handful of Generation III+ demonstration plants. The expectation was that these plants would come online by 2010, but this expectation was not met.

Overview[edit]

The "Nuclear Power 2010 Program" was unveiled by the U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham on February 14, 2002 as one means towards addressing the expected need for new power plants. The program is a joint government/industry cost-shared effort to identify sites for new nuclear power plants, to develop and bring to market advanced nuclear plant technologies, evaluate the business case for building new nuclear power plants, and demonstrate untested regulatory processes leading to an industry decision in the next few years to seek Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approval to build and operate at least one new advanced nuclear power plant in the United States.

Three consortia responded in 2004 to the U.S. Department of Energy's solicitation under the Nuclear Power 2010 initiative and were awarded matching funds.

Two of the three projects will test the Combined Construction and Operating License (COL) process (that is, obtain an operating license at the same time as the construction permit, the validity of which is conditional upon the plant being built as designed).

A few U.S. areas with nuclear units are campaigning for more (Oswego, New York; Clinton, Illinois; Port Gibson, Mississippi; etc.). NuStart Energy Development, LLC selected a site from Oswego, Port Gibson, St. Francisville, Louisiana, Aiken, South Carolina, Lusby, Maryland and Scottsboro, Alabama — four of the sites have operating reactors, one has an unfinished nuclear power plant, and one is the Savannah River Site. Note that the other two consortia may also be looking at Lusby and Scottsboro.

On September 22, 2005, NuStart selected Port Gibson (the Grand Gulf site) and Scottsboro (the Bellefonte site) for new nuclear units.[2] Port Gibson will host an ESBWR (a passively safe version of the BWR) and Scottsboro an AP1000 (a passively safe version of the PWR). Entergy announced it will prepare its own proposal for the River Bend Station in St. Francisville. Also, Constellation Energy of Baltimore had withdrawn its Lusby and Oswego sites from the NuStart finalist list after on September 15 announcing a new joint venture, UniStar Nuclear, with Areva to offer EPR (European Pressurized Reactors) in the U.S.A.[3] Finally, in October, 2005, Progress Energy announced it was considering constructing a new nuclear plant and had begun evaluating potential sites in central Florida.

South Carolina Electric & Gas announced on February 10, 2006 that it chose Westinghouse for a plant to be built at the V.C. Summer plant in Jenkinsville, South Carolina.[4]

NRG Energy announced in June, 2006 that it would explore building two ABWRs at the South Texas Project. (Four ABWRs are already operating in Japan and two are under construction in Taiwan at Lungmen Nuclear Power Plant.)

The original goal of bringing two new reactors online by 2010 was missed, and "of more than two dozen projects that were considered, only two showed signs of progress and even this progress was uncertain".[5]

Energy Policy Act of 2005[edit]

The Energy Policy Act of 2005, signed by President George W. Bush on August 8, 2005, has a number of articles related to nuclear power, and three specifically to the 2010 Program.[6]

First, the Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act was extended to cover private and DOE plants and activities licensed through 2025.

Also, the government would cover cost overruns due to regulatory delays, up to $500 million each for the first two new nuclear reactors, and half of the overruns due to such delays (up to $250 million each) for the next four reactors. Delays in construction due to vastly increased regulation were a primary cause of the high cost of some earlier plants.

Finally, "A production tax credit of 1.8 cents per kilowatt-hour for the first 6,000 megawatt-hours from new nuclear power plants for the first eight years of their operation, subject to a $125 million annual limit. The production tax credit places nuclear energy on an equal footing with other sources of emission-free power, including wind and closed-loop biomass."[6]

The Act also funds a Next Generation Nuclear Plant project at INEEL to produce both electricity and hydrogen. This plant will be a DOE project and does not fall under the 2010 Program.

Recent developments[edit]

Between 2007 and 2009, 13 companies applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for construction and operating licenses to build 25 new nuclear power reactors in the United States. However, the case for widespread nuclear plant construction was eroded due to abundant natural gas supplies, slow electricity demand growth in a weak U.S. economy, lack of financing, and uncertainty following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.[7] Many license applications for proposed new reactors were suspended or cancelled.[8][9] Only a few new reactors will enter service by 2020.[7] These will not be cheaper than coal or natural gas, but they are an attractive investment for utilities because the government mandates that taxpayers pay for construction in advance.[10][11] In 2013, four aging reactors were permanently closed due to the stringent requirements of the NRC and actions by local politicians.[12][13]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Nuclear Energy Public-Private Partnership Achieves Industry Milestones, Now Disbanding". NuStart Energy (press release). 11 June 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "NuStart Selects Grand Gulf, Bellefonte for Advanced Nuclear Plant Licenses". PRNewswire. September 22, 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  3. ^ http://uk.biz.yahoo.com/050915/323/fs67q.html[dead link]
  4. ^ "GE Nuclear sees doubling of sales despite losing Westinghouse". Gulf Times. 18 February 2006. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  5. ^ Mark Cooper (July 2011). "The implications of Fukushima: The US perspective". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 67 (4). p. 8. 
  6. ^ a b http://www.nei.org/documents/Energy_Bill_2005.pdf[dead link]
  7. ^ a b Ayesha Rascoe (Feb 9, 2012). "U.S. approves first new nuclear plant in a generation". Reuters. 
  8. ^ Eileen O'Grady. Entergy says nuclear remains costly Reuters, May 25, 2010.
  9. ^ Terry Ganey. AmerenUE pulls plug on project Columbia Daily Tribune, April 23, 2009.
  10. ^ Matthew Wald (June 11, 2013). "Atomic Power’s Green Light or Red Flag". New York Times. 
  11. ^ "Experts: Even higher costs and more headaches for nuclear power in 2012". MarketWatch. 28 December 2011. 
  12. ^ Sewell, Abby; Bensinger, Ken, How San Onofre's new steam generators sealed nuclear plant's fate, LA Times, retrieved 2014-04-09 
  13. ^ Matthew Wald (June 14, 2013). "Nuclear Plants, Old and Uncompetitive, Are Closing Earlier Than Expected". New York Times. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]