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Showing posts from 2016

They Call the Wind Maria

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The U.S. Southeast, a wind power desert
Like the lovers of Paint Your Wagon's California gold miners, tapping the wind's energy remains more dream than reality in the U.S. Southeast. In the middle of this wind power desert is the operator of 5% of the nation's wind generation capacity -- estimated by the Energy Information Administration to total some 82 gigawats.   That is up from the more than 74 GWs of wind generation the EIA estimates were in operation at the end of 2015. During that year, wind facilities produced 190,927 gigawatthours (GWh) of electricity, accounting for 4.7% of net U.S. electric power generation.  This represents a doubling of wind's generation share since 2010, when the share was 2.3%. Based on monthly data through July, wind has provided 5.6% of U.S. generation in 2016. In 2015, 11 states generated at least 10% of their total electricity from wind.  As recently as 2010, only three states had at least a 10% wind share. Iowa had the largest wind gene…

GE confirms merger value

Nuclear slowly recovering as UK goes ahead with Hinkley Point

General Electric got confirmation of its 2015 French merger Thursday when the government of British Prime Minister Theresa May approved the controversial $23.8 billion (18.17 billion pounds)Hinkley Point C  project, after putting it on hold in July.
GE told Reuters it will receive $1.9 billion for a contract to supply steam turbines, generators and other equipment to the project, the United Kingdom's first new nuclear power plant in decades.
The project, being built by French state-controlled utility company EDF, includes an $8 billion investment from Chinese state-backed firm China General Nuclear Power Corporation.
The power station is to be built on a headland overlooking the Bristol Channel in southwest England and will include two French-designed reactors.

It's Not News....

Two of 11 offline, Brunswick & Harris off earthquake list
Two Duke Energy nuclear reactors were shut down this month (November 2015), reducing the capacity of the second largest U.S. nuclear fleet 16.7% for five days.
Apparently North and South Carolina news operations – newspapers, radio, TV and online – agree with the utility that this was not news.
On November 12, the 938 megawatt Brunswick Nuclear Plant Unit One returned to service after a five day shutdown to repair a leaking recirculating pump seal and the 848 MW Oconee Nuclear Station Unit Two ended a 26 day refueling outage.
This was two of the 11 reactors that provided 52% of the electricity Duke produced in the Carolinas during the first nine months of the year; but the utility didn’t believe it was news, so there was no news release. 
Most of the news releases about Duke’s six Carolina nuclear power plants are notices to local media about quarterly siren tests. Of the 174 news releases posted on the utility’s website throug…
More Heat, Less Nuclear PowerWith summer heat topping 20 15’s records, there was less electricity available from the U.S. nuclear fleet during June, July and August as 2016 nuclear power plant outages soared 51% from a year ago. That’s an average of 4.3 gigawatts (GW), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Summer outages were at their highest in June, reaching 9.9 GW, or about 10% of total U.S. nuclear capacity, on June 17 and averaging 6.2 GW for the month. Outages dropped to an average of 4.4 GW in July and 2.4 GW in August when the Carolinas contributed to the to the total with the automatic shutdown of the Robinson Nuclear plant due to a turbine trip. Last year, nuclear outages reached the lowest level since 2007, with outages totaling just 0.1 GW – 100 megawatts (MW) – during four days in August 2015. The low level of outages helped the nation’s electric utilities meet the demand created by 2015’s record heat. The reactors provided no help this year as each of the…
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South Leads Biomass Power GrowthThe Carolinas were in the thick of it as southern states led the way to a 14% surge in U.S. electricity generation from biomass over the past five years – from 56 gigawatthours (GWh) in 2010 to 64 GWh.       In 2015, electricity generation from biomass across all sectors accounted for 11.3% of renewable electricity generation and 1.6% of total electricity generation in the United States.       Nearly half of the electricity generated from biomass in 2015 was at industrial facilities outside of the electric power sector, such as pulp and paper mills. Along the Cape Fear River, forest waste powers the International Paper plant in Riegelwood.       Within the electric power sector, biomass accounted for 6.3% of renewable electricity and 0.8% of total U.S. electricity generation. Four hundred daily truckloads of wood waste provide half of the energy at Southport Power which provides heat to ADM and electricity to Duke Energy.

Several states in the South Censu…
GE Carolina High-Tech Gets US Test FundsThe U.S. Department of Energy is funding a GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy effort to lower the cost – in time and dollars -- of nuclear power plant replacement parts with 3D printing.       The $2 million additive manufacturing research project will use 3D printing to produce replacement part prototypes and subject the samples to a number of tests after irradiation in the Idaho National Laboratory’s Advanced Test Reactor.       The GE Hitachi project is part of an $80 million investment in 93 advanced nuclear technology projects the Energy Department announced in mid-June.       Funding from DOE’s Nuclear Science User Facilities program will give GE Hitachi access to state-of-the-art neutron and gamma irradiation and post-irradiation examination services, the Wilmington-based U.S.-Japanese nuclear venture explained.       As part of the research project, GE Hitachi said, it will produce sample nuclear power plant replacement parts which will be 3D printe…
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Fukushima-enhanced flood concerns addressed The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has signed off on the flood protection improvements Duke Energy completed at its oldest nuclear power plant.
Concerns about flooding at the utility’s three-unit Oconee Nuclear Plant -- including the potential failure of the Jocassee Dam, located about 12 miles upstream from the plant – were addressed in a 2008 NRC staff letter.
After a tidal wave damaged the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant in 2011, the agency requested additional information on flooding as it worked to ensure that lessons learned from the situation in Japan were applied to U.S. plants including Oconee.
Duke submitted its flood hazard reevaluation report in 2013 and a revised report in 2015. The NRC accepted the modifications in that 2015 report as adequately protecting the Seneca, SC nuclear plant from a potential failure of the Jocassee Dam.
In April, Duke informed the NRC that the flooding modifications – including enhanced flood walls as well as mo…
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GE slated for beyond 60Plans to extend two GE boiling water reactors (BWR) operating licenses beyond 60 years. Construction of a Westinghouse AP1000 reactor in Georgia passed a milestone. Such was the juxtaposition of old and new in last week’s nuclear news. Exelon said it plans to file with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) seeking an additional 20-year operating license for Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, co-owned Public Service Enterprise Group. Georgia Power said the last of four 375,000-pound reactor coolant pumps for Vogtle Unit 3 near Waynesboro, Georgia arrived via truck from Curtiss-Wright Corporation in Cheswick, Pennsylvania. Work on the pressurized water reactor is the most advanced of four under construction in the U.S. southeast. Last month Westinghouse said the world’s first AP1000 moved a step closer to commissioning with the completion of the cold hydrostatic test at Sanmen Unit 1 in Zhejiang Province, China.Completion of the test is a key step for the first of f…

Paying the Wildfire Piper

Wildfire season on the Carolina coast features a warning din that’s annually overcome by the piper’s my-fire-won’t-get-out-of-control tune.Last month, Brunswick County made a down payment on the piper’s song that has no dollar price tag -- some 50,000 homes were left without electricity for hours late the night the Clemmons Road Fire went from trash fire to wildfire.The outages were triggered when the fire caused the westernmost of eight 230 kilovolt transmission lines distributing power from the Brunswick Nuclear Plant to fault out. Service was reestablished by isolating the fault, causing a disruption at the connector for Brunswick EMC, leaving the co-ops members without electricity.
With the grid capable of distributing less electricity, operators reduced Brunswick Nuclear Unit 2 power to 86% where it stayed for a day and a half until two fire-damaged transmission line supports were repaired.
Duke Energy hasn’t discussed the cost of repairing the support structures or reducing Unit 2…

Nuclear power back after wildfire

North Carolina’s oldest nuclear reactor was back at full power by lunch time Thursday after a day and a half of reduced power due a wildfire near Bolivia.   The Clemmons Road Fire was first reported about 1:30 Tuesday afternoon just outside the 10-mile emergency notification area of Duke Energy’s Brunswick Nuclear Plant. A few hours later, the wildfire was out of control.   Brunswick Nuclear Unit 2 power was reduced to 86% late Tuesday when a 230 kilovolt transmission line passing through the fire area faulted out, Brunswick Nuclear spokeswoman Karen Williams said Thursday.   The line which connects the Southport power plant to Whiteville is the furthest west of eight 230 kV lines distributing electricity generated at Brunswick Nuclear.   Unit 1 continued to operate at 100% throughout the fire, Duke Energy told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.   The problem causing the fault was isolated and service was re-established, Williams said, adding “this caused a disruption at the connector f…