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Some nuclear plants may be shut down soon


According to an article in the AJC (thanks to Gary for the link), some nuclear reactors in the southeast could be forced to shut down later this year due to the drought.  While this likely wouldn’t lead to blackouts, it could result in electric bills going up 10 times higher.  Ouch!

Some quotes of interest from the article:

  •  “…Lake Norman near Charlotte is down to 93.7 feet – less than a foot above the minimum set in the license for Duke Energy Corp.’s McGuire nuclear plant.  The lake was at 98.2 feet just a year ago…”
  • “…[this] could lead to shockingly higher electric bills for millions of Southerners, because the region’s utilities could be forced to buy expensive replacement power from other energy companies…”
  • “…Currently, nuclear power costs between $5 to $7 to produce a megawatt hour…It would cost 10 times that amount if you had to buy replacement power – especially during the summer…”

I don’t think that Georgia has any plants in such a dire situation yet, but things could certainly change.

I’d be curious to know what would happen to the cost of power in Atlanta if one or more of the plants in North Carolina had to shut down.  I’m sure the price increase would have a ripple effect, but how much?

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4 Responses to “Some nuclear plants may be shut down soon”

  1. Jay Randal Says:

    This is a scare tactic by the energy industry to get us Georgians to allow Lake Lanier to be drained completely, just so an old coal-fired power plant in Florida can get its daily flow of 3+ billion gallons of water from Woodruff Dam. Scholz Plant is so old the place produces only enough electricity for a few thousand homes. As for the Farley Nuclear Plant it can operate with a flow of just 2 billion gallons a day. Nice try energy industry creeps, but the day you guys try to charge us 10 times more for electricity will be the day we take to the streets.

  2. jd in ct Says:

    You have to wonder if Progress Energy’s website, the Harris reactor is slated for expansion.
    Harris Plant

    Why was the Harris site chosen as the location for possible future nuclear expansion?
    When choosing a prospective site for a new reactor, three considerations are essential: the availability of land, water and transmission capacity. The Harris Nuclear Plant has all three. If pursued, the second reactor would be built on an existing plant site where significant infrastructure is already in place. We can capitalize on well-trained personnel at the site, and an emergency plan that has already been established and drilled for years.

    For what reasons would Progress Energy decide not to build a second reactor at the Harris Plant?
    Decisions on building power plants, electric transmission lines and other large pieces of the electric system infrastructure are based on growth projections, cost assumptions, the best available information on technology, need forecasts and other data. Changes in those projections and assumptions, or unforeseen legal or regulatory changes, could alter plans. Progress Energy is committed to meeting customer demand, now and in the future, as reliably and efficiently as possible. That means plans for the future need to be as flexible as possible.

  3. Energy Pundit » Blog Archive » The Water Food Energy Climate Nexus (Pt. 1) Says:

    [...] from a water source) was used to cool power plants. The operation of open loop nuclear plants requires this steady flow of water, or else they must shut down. Only 3% of US water is actually consumed by [...]

  4. Alternative Energy Picks » Blog Archive » The Water Food Energy Climate Nexus (Pt. 1) Says:

    [...] from a water source) was used to cool power plants. The operation of open loop nuclear plants requires this steady flow of water, or else they must shut down. Only 3% of US water is actually consumed by [...]

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