Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Baby Step in the Right Direction

South Texas Project (Image: STPNOC)

The first of hopefully many Combined Operating License applications for new nuclear reactors was filed yesterday. The U.S. may finally be taking steps to secure her energy future. I am cautiously optimistic, but have full faith in the ability of the Baby Boom generation of leaders to screw it up. We shall see.

South Texas Project (STP) is already home to two pressurised water reactors (PWRs). Units 3 and 4 will be Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWRs) with a total capacity of at least 2700 MWe, according to NRG. The site, in Matagorda County, is considered to be one of the best in America for nuclear expansion, according to NRG. The site itself and its cooling reservoir were originally designed to support four units, and the two new units will be built adjacent to the existing ones.

NRG president and CEO David Crane described the licence application as heralding a new day for energy in America and a new day for the environment. "Advanced nuclear technology is the only currently viable large-scale alternative to traditional coal-fuelled generation to produce none of the traditional air emissions - and most importantly in this age of climate change - no carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases," he noted.

The decision to use GE-Hitachi ABWRs reflects NRG's analysis that such units are well proven, four of them having been operating in Japan for up to ten years, and they have full design certification in USA. The design also has excellent credentials for construction time and bringing the units in on budget...

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