May 14 News: Nuclear Plant In Georgia May Cost $900 Million More Than Estimated, Says Southern Company

A round-up of the top climate and energy news. Please post other links below.

The flagship project of a hoped-for but not-yet-realized “nuclear renaissance,” the Vogtle 3 and 4 reactors under construction near Augusta, Ga., may cost about $900 million more than had been estimated, the Southern Company said in a filing this week with the Securities and Exchange Commission. [New York Times]

In the foothills of the Andes, in the Sierra Piura region of Peru, the problems faced by coffee farmers are clear. [Guardian]

Although farmers know better than ever how to grow food, global warming may indirectly affect our diet by diminishing the amount of available nutrients. [Jerusalem Post]

Are you and your neighbors breathing healthy air? The American Lung Association has released their State Of The Air 2012 report, detailing cities with the least and most air pollution in America. Each city is ranked by ozone pollution, short-term particle pollution, and year-long particle pollution. [Huffington Post]

Coastal erosion, a natural effect of Matunuck’s direct exposure to the elements in an area prone to sand-sucking northeasters, has shrunk parts of the beach to less than a dozen feet during high tide, not only imperiling seafront structures like the Ocean Mist but also threatening the only road that residents can use to get in and out of here, as well as the water line beneath it that serves over 1,600 customers. [New York Times]

A decade at war has made Marines mean on the battlefield. Now to get lean, the Corps is becoming Green. Marines have become exceedingly lethal, but all that deadly precision comes with a heavy burden — a lot of fuel and extra batteries to carry, said Col. Bob Charette, director of Marine Corps Expeditionary Energy Office. [Jacksonville Daily News]

B.C. Premier Christy Clark is prepared to alter her government’s strict climate-change targets to pave the way for her plan to create a liquefied natural gas industry in the province. [Globe and Mail]

A recent study on the distribution of 11,000 marine species in relation to water temperature supports that the current human-induced climate change has huge consequences for our marine ecosystems. And a 15°C change is not even necessary. [Business Mirror]


25 Responses to May 14 News: Nuclear Plant In Georgia May Cost $900 Million More Than Estimated, Says Southern Company

  1. Here’s an additional daily roundup of energy- and climate-related news clips.

  2. Mike Roddy says:

    Nuclear always costs more than estimated- just ask San Antonio. Not to mention water hogging and radioactivity.

  3. John Tucker says:

    For some reason there hasn’t been a new nuclear facility built in the US for over 30 years. Even with a clean and near perfect safety record. The technology has advanced enough to require rather strict parameters in construction.

    The reactors will have a capacity of 2400 MW at around 90 percent base load.

    Can you list ONE single clean energy project that would compete with those numbers?

    And from the article:

    The company, which is building the reactors with a consortium of utilities, said the problem arose from delays in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s approval of a design certification document from the manufacturer, Westinghouse, and of a combined construction and operating license.

    “Issues have arisen that may impact the project budget and schedule,” Southern said. Cost and schedule are very tightly related because interest costs accumulate on the money already spent.

    Meaning It was political and not a factor of the design.

    So your post also is very misleading and should be correlated.

  4. John Tucker says:

    Wonder why – misinformation noted.

  5. SecularAnimist says:

    John Tucker wrote: “Meaning It was political and not a factor of the design.”

    You offer absolutely ZERO evidence that the delays in the NRC’s approval of the design certification document and the construction/operating license was “political”.

    John Tucker wrote: “Can you list ONE single clean energy project that would compete with those numbers?”

    Irrelevant. How about 10 clean energy projects, each of them less than one-tenth the cost, with none of the very real dangers and drawbacks and long term costs of nuclear power?

  6. Paul Magnus says:

    Its all about greed, dam everything else even the climate… and our future.

    Gateway Designed to Pump Far More Crude than Advertised
    Pipes could carry 60 per cent more than now proposed. Result: hundreds more tankers off BC’s coast.

  7. Paul Magnus says:

    Northern Gateway, coupled with a twinned Kinder Morgan means the federal government has effectively given Big Oil the go-ahead for 1.7 million barrels per day of crude oil flowing through B.C.

    Once Kinder Morgan tables its detailed pipeline plans, it’s possible we’ll find their design capable of carrying much more crude — just like Northern Gateway — and 1.1 million barrels per day will be arriving in Burnaby ready to be shipped to Asian markets. With both Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan, this could mean almost two million barrels a day of crude oil flowing through B.C.

  8. Paul Magnus says:

    Direct Action calls….”Our gov is acting unethically…”

    Mark Jaccard from SFU says B.C. and Canada don’t take climate change seriously

    Mark Jaccard, SFU Professor, member of the National Roundtable on Environment and Economy and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that won the 2007 Nobel Prize talks about the dangers of not adopting a more aggressive approach to the causes and impact of climate change.

  9. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    You neglected to mention de-commissioning, and the expense of keeping intractably deadly waste away from living creatures. Not to forget little accidents like Fukushima, which will take decades to clear up at unknown cost.

  10. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘Political’ in this context means popular opposition, ie ‘democracy’.

  11. David B. Benson says:

    Vogtle 3&4 are going over budget by about 6.5%. So the LCOE will go up some, but the calculation is harder to do than I have time for.

    The NRC delays were probably due to the new requirement to check for BDB extreme event compliance.

  12. AA says:

    Even with $900M cost overrun, Vogtle is still cheaper than solar.

    Onshore wind (assuming no storage required) is probably competitive.

    Offshore wind is still vaporware in the U.S… more expensive than nuclear anyways.

  13. John Tucker says:

    Mulga its factored into estimates and the fuel is extensively recyclable.

  14. John Tucker says:

    Yet the original article implying was issue inherent of the technology with everyone sounding off in agreement was fine. Even though it conflicted the original release. I see.


    Post-Fukushima Event Petitions
    Additional pleadings directed at the Vogtle COL application were filed in the
    aftermath of the Fukushima Dai-ichi events. The Vogtle COL proceeding was one of the
    captioned proceedings subject to petitions that requested the suspension of “all
    decisions” regarding the issuance of COLs, pending completion of several actions
    associated with the nuclear events in Japan. We granted that petition in part and denied
    it in part.

    ( )

    The reactor is not the same design, the region is completely different.

  15. SecularAnimist says:

    David B. Benson wrote: “The NRC delays were probably due to the new requirement to check for BDB extreme event compliance.”

    You do realize, I hope, that the mere acknowledgement that the NRC might have legitimate regulatory reasons for the delay in approving the Vogtle design documents makes you an anti-science, anti-nuclear zealot?

  16. John Tucker says:

    They each have their place – Nuclear is THE only high capacity factor, small footprint, base-load clean option.

    On a high energy scale it is statistically safer and cleaner than all fossil fuels and fossil co-generation/renewable combinations.

    And that is just how it is.

    All power plants have capacity factors, and they vary depending on resource, technology, and purpose. Typical wind power capacity factors are 20-40%. Hydro capacity factors may be in the range of 30-80%, with the US average toward the low end of that range. Photovoltaic capacity factors in Massachusetts are 12-15%. Nuclear capacity factors are usually in the range of 60% to over 100%, and the national average in 2002 was 92% ( )

  17. Paul Magnus says:

    The Canadian government is going about it in such an under handed and unethical manner it really is a tragedy…

  18. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    What as? Depleted uranium munitions and nuclear weapons? This is intractably dangerous stuff, in my opinion, particularly in the hands of capitalists.

  19. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    However, solar keeps getting cheaper, despite active sabotage by the genocidal Right, whereas nuclear keeps getting more expensive. A trillion or so for the cleanup of Fukushima, foisted, naturally on the public, doesn’t sound ‘cheap’ to me.

  20. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘Standard Operating Procedure’ for the Harper regime, and a real role model for other Rightwing pathocracies.

  21. David B. Benson says:


    You do know I am pro-science and (reluctantly) pro-nuclear?

  22. John Tucker says:

    Lol no. The other direction to some extent. We already have in on hand and might as well use it. Breeder reactors can recycle and consume actinides. Meaning they would negate the need for ultra secure long term storage and make wastes much safer.

  23. John Tucker says:

    MM Im a big fan of rooftop solar – particularity in the mid and lower upper latitudes.

    Our society however is too energy hungry to run on solar with no storage. And at the rate we are installing it – we are not even up to 1/10 of one percent.

    Then there are things like EVs that we need to be making MORE electricity for.

    Like wind it helps a lot, particularity when done right – but as a singular solution they are not doable. Or at least Ive never seen a serious proposal that suggests it.

    Cutting nuclear capacity now is a disaster. A complete failure that not only increases ocean and atmospheric CO2 but ensures the installation of more fossil infrastructure that will be with us for a very, very long time.

    If Japans nuclear is permanently shuttered it will take over 2 years benefit off the world’s install of clean energy. If the US were to follow suit – over 10. IMHO.

    Also its technology we will eventually need. If not for energy then for the space program (if it survives).

    The antinuclear movement and the drive for clean energy are probably incompatible in the real world. No matter how much you don’t want it to be true. In our situation it seems it is.

    I actually like nuclear power now. The scope of it is too large to attribute to a few old examples of the technology. The footprint is small for the energy return and after fukushima we evidentially have enough experience in disasters and accidents to prevent major contamination and loss of life.

    As something I looked at with apprehension all my life its nice to see I was totally incorrect, and it is also a entry point to vast yet fundamental new areas to think about. Not something to be feared.

  24. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Oh for goodness sake, can’t you see a decision when it’s been put in front of your eyes – its not going to happen!

    The debate about nuclear is over, done, gone, caput, dead, – the parrot is not resting, catatonic or mute – it is actually dead, ME

  25. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Dear John, where are there safe, successful ‘breeder’ reactors operating? I thought that this nuclear chimaera had been plagued with problems.