Columbia Generating Station has $3.6B in Debtby Sandi Doughton, Seattle Times
Tri-City Herald, July 14, 2011
Whether the Columbia Generating Station has been a good deal for Washington power consumers depends on how you slice and dice the numbers, said Jim Lazar, an Olympia-based economist who specializes in power issues.
"If you look back at what the power from this plant has cost in total, it's clearly not a good deal," Lazar said. "But if you ask, 'Does it make sense to keep running it today?' The answer is 'yes.' "
With interest, the outstanding debt on the plant is $3.6 billion.
When those payments are factored in along with depreciation, waste disposal, administrative expenses and all other costs reported annually by Energy Northwest, Lazar calculates power from the nuclear plant averages about 6.5 cents per kilowatt -hour (kwh) -- more expensive than hydropower, coal and natural gas.
Looking only at operating and maintenance costs, Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) puts the price at 3.6 cents per kwh. Hydropower costs about 2.8 cents per kwh.
BPA has had to boost rates -- including a proposed 8 percent increase for 2012-13 -- to pay for upgrades at the nuclear-power plant. According to a 2009 BPA analysis, it costs more to maintain and operate the Columbia Generating Station than all 31 of the hydropower plants in the Columbia Basin combined.
But the plant provides about 10 percent of BPA's electricity, which would have to be replaced if it were shut down.
Leaving out money already spent, "if the plant can be run safely and reliably into the future," Lazar said, "then it's a good deal."
Reuters Factbox: U.S. nuclear reactors similar to Fukushima
July 13 (Reuters) - The U.S. nuclear industry's top cop is to weigh major changes in how it regulates the country's 104 reactors after Japan's Fukushima disaster, a move that will help shape the future of the power source and could lead to significant cost increases.
A task force recommended the Nuclear Regulatory Commission look at a fundamental shift in how it plans for catastrophes like the earthquake and tsunami that swamped the Fukushima plant in March, the world's worst nuclear disaster in 25 years.
Now it is up to the five-member commission to decide which ideas to accept and how quickly to proceed in an industry where plant retrofits can run into the millions.
The NRC task force recommended requiring reliable hardened vent designs in boiling water reactors with the General Electric (GE.N) designed Mark I and Mark II containment types, the same as the damaged Fukushima reactors.
In the United States, 31 of the 104 operating reactors have the Mark I or Mark II containment type. The following lists those reactors, according to data from the NRC:Reactor Location Size (MW) Year Design ENERGY NORTHWEST Columbia Richland, WA 1190 1984 Mark II TVA Browns Ferry 1 Decatur, AL 1065 1974 Mark I Browns Ferry 2 Decatur, AL 1104 1975 Mark I Browns Ferry 3 Decatur, AL 1105 1977 Mark I PROGRESS ENERGY (PGN.N) Brunswick 1 Southport, NC 938 1977 Mark I Brunswick 2 Southport, NC 920 1975 Mark I NEBRASKA PUBLIC POWER DISTRICT Cooper Nebraska City, NE 770 1974 Mark I EXELON (EXC.N) Dresden 2 Morris, IL 867 1970 Mark I Dresden 3 Morris, IL 867 1971 Mark I LaSalle 1 Marseilles, IL 1118 1982 Mark II LaSalle 2 Marseilles, IL 1120 1983 Mark II Limerick 1 Limerick, PA 1134 1985 Mark II Limerick 2 Limerick, PA 1134 1989 Mark II Oyster Creek Toms River, NJ 615 1969 Mark I Peach Bottom 2 Lancaster, PA 1112 1974 Mark I Peach Bottom 3 Lancaster, PA 1112 1974 Mark I Quad Cities 1 Moline, IL 867 1972 Mark I Quad Cities 2 Moline, IL 867 1972 Mark I NEXTERA ENERGY (NEE.N) Duane Arnold Cedar Rapids, IA 580 1975 Mark I SOUTHERN (SO.N) Hatch 1 Baxley, GA 876 1975 Mark I Hatch 2 Baxley, GA 883 1979 Mark I DTE ENERGY (DTE.N) Fermi 2 Monroe, MI 1122 1988 Mark I PSEG (PEG.N) Hope Creek Hancock's Brdg, NJ 1161 1986 Mark I ENTERGY (ETR.N) Fitzpatrick Oswego, NY 854 1976 Mark I Pilgrim Plymouth, MA 685 1972 Mark I Vermont Yankee Vernon, VT 620 1972 Mark I XCEL (XEL.N) Monticello Monticello, MN 572 1971 Mark I CONSTELLATION (CEG.N) Nine Mile Point 1 Oswego, NY 621 1969 Mark I Nine Mile Point 2 Oswego, NY 1140 1987 Mark II PPL (PPL.N) Susquehanna 1 Salem, PA 1149 1982 Mark II Susquehanna 2 Salem, PA 1140 1984 Mark II(Reuters Reporting by Eileen O'Grady in Houston, Roberta Rampton in Washington and Scott DiSavino in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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