Three factors combined to sink the prospects in the U.S. of a combined $127 billion worth of new nuclear reactors projects which flooded the NRC with license applications in the period 2006-2008.
The first is the record low price of natural gas. The second is the Fukushima crisis of March 2011 which cast a long shadow of doubt across the global industry. The third is the “bet the company” risks of investing in a $5-10 billion project in a merchant market where the reactor does not get credit for carbon reduction nor for keeping the grid stable for all those “reneweable” and highly variable wind and solar energy projects. With few exceptions, no “prudent investors” will proceed against these headwinds.
However, Southern Company proceeded to invest in two new Westinghouse AP1000s at the Vogtle site in Georgia with the help of $8.3 billion in loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy. SCANA chose to move forward with two Ap1000s at the V C Summer site in South Carolina, but without loan guarantees. TVA completed Watts Bar II loading fuel in the reactor in December 2015.
Hat tip to Joe Deely, a reader at the Energy Collective, for helping set up the table below.
So where are they now?
|Proposed New Reactors||
Market Status & Outlook
|Bell Bend Nuclear Power Plant||U.S. EPR||PPL Bell Bend, LLC||Under Review||Progress continues on license application with completion of Environmental Review last April. EPR not approved by NRC due to suspension of design review at Areva’s request. Utility may have to select another vendor.|
|Bellefonte Nuclear Station, Units 3 & 4||AP1000||Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)||Suspended||TVA is very unlikely to ever complete either of the mothballed Bellefonte units. The remaining equipment is obsolete. TVA started work on an Early Site Permit application for an SMR at Clinch River. Any prospects for AP1000s are in the indefinite future.|
|Callaway Plant, Unit 2||U.S. EPR||AmerenUE||Withdrawn||A merchant regulatory environment makes any new reactors a non-starter from a business perspective given the long term outlook for low natural gas prices. Areva EPR not approved for use by NRC in the US. Ameren could not convince the Missouri legislature to provide CWIP for the project.|
|Calvert Cliffs, Unit 3||U.S. EPR||Calvert Cliffs 3 Nuclear Project, LLC and UniStar Nuclear Operating Services, LLC||Withdrawn||A merchant regulatory environment makes any new reactors a non-starter from a business perspective given the long term outlook for low natural gas prices. Areva EPR not approved for use by NRC in the US.|
|Comanche Peak, Units 3 & 4||US-APWR||Luminant Generation Company, LLC (Luminant)||Suspended||Could be revived in the future if project can be separated from parent firm debt structure. Mitsubishi would have to complete the design review of its 1700 MW PWR with the NRC. Natural gas prices in the nation’s leading oil & gas state would have to increase significantly long-term. Electricity demand would also be a key market success factor.|
|Fermi, Unit 3||ESBWR||Detroit Edison Company||Issued||One of the bright spots and likely to move forward in next decade. GE is working closely with DTE on this project as it is the first-of-a-kind for the ESBWR in the US.|
|Grand Gulf, Unit 3||ESBWR||Entergy Operations, Inc. (EOI)||Withdrawn||Entergy invested in uprates to an existing reactor.|
|Levy County, Units 1 & 2||AP1000||Duke Energy Florida (DEF)||Under Review||Unlikely to proceed. Project costs, including upgrades to regional electrical grid, worked against moving forward.|
|Nine Mile Point, Unit 3||U.S. EPR||Nine Mile Point 3 Nuclear Project, LLC and UniStar Nuclear Operating Services, LLC (UniStar)||Withdrawn||No market prospects for future work on this project.|
|North Anna, Unit 3||ESBWR||Dominion Virginia Power (Dominion)||Under Review||One of the bright spots and likely to move forward in next decade.|
|PSEG Hope Creek & Salem||TBD||PSEG||Active||Early Site Permit Application submitted in 2010. V.4 of permit application submitted in June 2015.|
|River Bend Station, Unit 3||ESBWR||Entergy Operations, Inc. (EOI)||Suspended||Entergy invested in uprates to an existing reactor.|
|Shearon Harris, Units 2 & 3||AP1000||Progress Energy Carolinas, Inc. (PEC) (now merged with Duke)||Suspended||Duke has put this project way on the back burner.|
|South Texas Project, Units 3 & 4||ABWR||Nuclear Innovation North America, LLC (NINA)||Under Review||Toshiba still interested on the project. Investors are needed to pay for future construction work. Cities of San Antonio, Austin pulled out.|
|Turkey Point, Units 6 & 7||AP1000||Florida Power and Light Company (FPL)||Under Review||One of the bright spots and likely to move forward by 2030.|
|Victoria County Station, Units 1 and 2||ESBWR||Exelon Nuclear Texas Holdings, LLC (Exelon)||Withdrawn||Exelon stopped all work by 2010 and opted to complete an Early Site permit application good for 20 years. Water rights remains an issue.|
|Virgil C. Summer, Units 2 and 3||AP1000||South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G)||Issued||Completion scheduled prior to 2020|
|Vogtle, Units 3 and 4||AP1000||Southern Nuclear Operating Company (SNC)||Issued||Completion scheduled prior to 2020|
|William States Lee III, Units 1 & 2||AP1000||Duke Energy||Under Review||Duke has put this project way on the back burner.|