Tuesday, August 13, 2013

California: Ratepayers should bear part of San Onofre closure cost, utility says

SACRAMENTO — Preparing for months of battle over who should pay the estimated $4.1-billion cost of permanently shutting down the San Onofre nuclear power plant, which closed in June, Southern California Edison has launched a public relations campaign suggesting that ratepayers pick up part of the cost.

Who pays — ratepayers, stockholders, equipment manufacturers or insurers — is expected to be a long and thorny dispute before state and federal regulatory agencies as well as in the courts.

On the eve of legislative hearings Tuesday on the issue, the utility offered its 4.9 million customers a preview of its point of view in an advertisement published in the Los Angeles Times.

Closing the power plant is in the "best interests" of customers, it said, and ratepayers should be prepared to pitch in. The company discovered that hundreds of new steam generating tubes were wearing out, and it determined that keeping the plant open till the problem was resolved would be too costly.

"[I]f a utility asset must be retired before the end of its expected life, the utility recovers from customers its reasonable investment costs," Edison wrote.


South Korea warns of power shortages amid nuclear shut downs

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea has warned of serious power shortages this week amid an expected rise in summer temperatures and as the resources-starved country struggles to keep up with demand after six nuclear plants have gone off-line.

The energy ministry said it may take emergency measures such as rolling power cuts to avoid a repeat of 2011 blackouts which cut electricity to businesses and homes across the country.

Separately, the ministry said some major companies, including Kia Motors Corp and Hyundai Motor Co, had not complied with energy saving regulations such as cutting power consumption during peak hours.


Taiwan: Scrapping nuclear power could hurt GDP, employment: CEPD report

Taipei, Aug. 12 (CNA) Putting an end to Taiwan's nuclear power plant operations could cause heavy economic damage to the country, including on its GDP and employment rates, a report released Monday by the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) says.

The report shows that halting construction on the fourth nuclear power plant and allowing the three other plants to be decommissioned as scheduled would cause real gross domestic product (GDP) to contract by NT$94 billion (US$3.1 billion) while some 19,464 jobs would disappear.

The economic damage would be the end result of a rise in electricity prices and the subsequent impact on local industries, the report says.

If the fourth nuclear plant is completed, it will cost about NT$2 per degree of electricity generated, including operating fees, it says. That's lower than the NT$2.5-per-degree cost that a coal power plant would incur and much lower than the NT$4.7-per-degree cost of natural gas power generation.

If the plant is not completed, the cost of electricity from extra coal plant production could rise NT$0.04 per degree, assuming that electricity sales reach 230.6 billion degrees in the year 2018, the report says. The cost would surge by NT$0.23 per degree if extra natural gas plants were used instead.

By the year 2025, this could cause national income to contract by NT$134.5 billion while economic growth would drop by 0.58 percentage points, it adds.


Pickering, Ontario nuclear power plant gets five-year licence extension

A federal regulator is allowing the nuclear power plant in Pickering, Ont., to keep operating for another five years.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has renewed the plant’s licence — which was set to expire next month — until the end of August, 2018.

The plant’s operator — the Ontario Power Generation — says it intends for the plant’s six active reactors to stay operational until 2019 ... Read More....

Moscow, Tehran to sign agreement on building new nuclear power plant

Moscow and Tehran will soon sign an agreement on the construction of a new nuclear power plant in the Islamic Republic, Iran’s Foreign Minister announced.

“Iran has held consultations with the Russian side and soon an agreement of mutual understanding will be signed on the construction of a new nuclear power plant,” Ali Akbar Salehi, Iranian foreign minister and former nuclear chief, said on Sunday.

He reiterated that Iran’s nuclear program is purely peaceful, as the country needs nuclear power for electricity generation and medicine.