US new build plans delayed
17 September 2010Plans for new nuclear build in the USA have been delayed due to a lack of demand for electricity, according to the head of the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI). Nevertheless,TVA's forward planning sees it increasing its nuclear capacity over the next 20 years.
|Watts Bar (Image: TVA)|
Speaking in London at the Annual Symposium of the World Nuclear Association, NEI President and CEO Marvin Fertel told the meeting that the economic downturn, along with a decline in the price of natural gas, has caused forward power prices to fall to levels well below those previously predicted. The country now faces a similar situation to the past 15 years, during which time 320 GWe of gas-fired plant capacity was built, compared with a total of only 20 GWe of capacity from all other forms of generation. "Gas is going to be the dominant part of the new supply source," Fertel said.
Although 13 combined construction and operating licence (COL) applications, representing 22 new nuclear reactors, are under active review by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Fertel said that the industry is not expecting construction to begin on so many reactors in the near future. If four to eight reactors would start up by 2020, this would be a "successful start" to new nuclear construction. Pre-construction activities for new nuclear reactors have begun at Vogtle in Georgia and V.C. Summer in Sourth Carolina. Two Westinghouse AP1000 are planned for each site, the first of which (at Vogtle) is expected to commence operation in late 2016. Meanwhile, work to complete TVA's Watts Bar 2 in Tennessee is due to finish in 2013. Construction on the unit was suspended in 1985 and resumed in 2007.
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