One of the very first new nuclear power plants proposed to be built in the U.S. in over 30 years just hit a brick wall. It’s the same brick wall — absurdly high cost — being hit around the world (see “Nuclear Bombshell: $26 Billion cost “” $10,800 per kilowatt! “” killed Ontario nuclear bid” and “Turkey’s only bidder for first nuclear plant offers a price of 21 cents per kilowatt-hour“).
The San Antonio Express News reports today:
The estimated cost of two new nuclear reactors proposed by CPS Energy has gone up as much as $4 billion, prompting the City Council to postpone Thursday’s vote on the project’s financing until January.
CPS officials and Mayor Juli¡n Castro, flanked by every council member except David Medina, held a hastily arranged news conference Tuesday afternoon announcing the delay.
CPS interim General Manager Steve Bartley said the utility’s main contractor on the project, Toshiba Inc., informed officials that the cost of the reactors would be “substantially greater” than CPS’ estimate of $13 billion, which includes financing.
The San Antonio Current notes that “After what can only be considered a sustained Certified Sales Event by CPS Energy matched by Mammoth Media Buildup,” the City Council was set to vote for the $400 Million bond issue this Thursday, which would have put the city “on an irreversible date with” the Toshiba nuke.
Occasional guest CP blogger Craig Severance not only tipped me off to this, but in fact predicted this price rise last month in a post, “San Antonio: New Economy Leader or Nuclear Guinea Pig?” that offers some saner and cheaper clean energy alternatives, which I’ll reprint below.
If you want to see an especially painful press conference from a Mayor who had been putting his foot on the nuclear accelerator, watch this:
Even before the latest jump price jump, the city was planning “a 9.5 percent base rate increase to cover the nuclear expansion and the utility’s other capital projects.” Such preemptive rate increases years before the plant would even deliver a single kilowatt hour are inevitable when you pursue nuclear power these days, as Florida has painfully found out (see “What do you get when you buy a nuke? You get a lot of delays and rate increases”¦.“).
New nuclear plants are so expensive they are likely to provide electricity at some 15 cents per kilowatt hour (see “Nuclear power, Part 2: The price is not right“) “” or possibly more than 20 cents/kWh (see “Exclusive analysis, Part 1: The staggering cost of new nuclear power“). The precise answer “” 50% higher than average U.S. electricity prices or more than 100% higher “” is hard to know since it is all but impossible to find a utility willing to stand behind a firm price in a rate hearing.
Some city Council members are now rethinking their commitment to the nuke: