Santee Cooper’s board approved their new business strategy – shifting the state-run utility’s energy forecast away from coal and toward solar power and gas-fired plants. But they abandoned the proposed cost-saving agreement with Southern Company that the new CEO, Mark Bonsall, wanted. He was looking for ways the two power companies could save money by jointly managing their fuel supplies, purchasing, energy trading, and coal ash waste.
Bonsall told reporters that he had discovered that there are more kinds of storms in South Carolina that just hurricanes.
Legislators, state officials and the co-ops argued that this arrangement would have undermined the state’s attempt to find potential bidders for Santee Cooper. Lawmakers has already planned to vote early next year on whether to sell the Moncks Corner-based utility, hire another company to manage it, or to keep it under state control.
However, CEO Bonsall’s other proposals for Santee Cooper were accepted and after a short presentation, the board voted unanimously on a strategy that will drastically cut the amount of power the utility generates from coal-fired plants.
Mark Bonsall, the new CEO of Santee Cooper, has a new strategy planned to stave off the sale of Santee Cooper. These plans include adding a large amount of solar energy, a new gas-fired power plant, and studying a cost-sharing arrangement with Southern Company (an investor-owned utility). However, this has SC legislators upset. The plan to work out an arrangement with Southern Company’s subsidiaries to jointly manage their fuel supplies, purchasing, energy trading, and coal ash waste – is the issue!
The Department of Administration – agency responsible for handling the Santee Cooper bids – and Senator Hugh Leatherman – considered the most powerful legislator in the state – argue that such an agreement would “disrupt, bias or circumvent” the state lawmakers’ plans. The Legislature has already stated their intent to vote early next year on whether to sell Santee Cooper, hire another company to manage it, or keep the utility under state control.
“We cannot and will not permit any additional efforts by Santee Cooper to advantage itself at the cost of process integrity,” said Marci Adams, the Department of Administration’s director.
Southern Company pointed out that they did not plan to take part in the bidding process and that Santee Cooper, was only doing what the Legislature had asked the utility to do – plot a possible path forward and to find cost-saving measures for its customers.
According to Santee Cooper’s chairman, Dan Ray, “These efforts are all designed to make Santee Cooper going forward, whether the General Assembly determines to sell Santee Cooper or allows its ongoing existence, the highest possible value for South Carolina”.
CEO Mark Bonsall said, he is focused on all the other ways that Santee Cooper can reform the business, which manages electricity to roughly 183,000 ratepayers and supplies power to the state’s 20 electric cooperatives. Such as, the recently announced phase-out of the coal-fired Winyah generating station (~180 employees) near Georgetown, plans to increase their solar capacity by 500% – adding more than 1,000 MW’s – and switching to a natural gas turbine to add another 100 MW’s. These kinds of changes will allow them to hold down costs for residential customers and the co-ops, Bonsall said.
The new leadership team at Santee Cooper expects to freeze rates over the next five years, while paying down chunks of the roughly $4 billion debt tied to the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project.
Although Dorian kept churning up the Florida coast, its four nuclear power plants (St. Lucie-1&2 and Turkey Point-3&4) continued to operate at 100% power – providing reliable, resilient power for its customers.
Florida Power & Light’s nuclear power plants are located on the Atlantic Coast side of Florida with Turkey Point (1,770-MW) in Homestead and St. Lucie (2,213-MW) in the Jensen Beach area.
Although these power plants were designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires them to shut-down these units, at least two hours before the projected arrival of sustained hurricane-force winds, above 74 mph.
Workers began implementing these detailed storm preparation procedures on August 26th. These emergency response preparations include verification of equipment and any supplies that might be needed, securing or moving equipment or items that might be blown around, and emergency staffing – enough operators and support staff onsite, 24/7, in the event that the roads might become inaccessible.
Warmest wishes for a Happy Birthday to Ron Giuliani, Bob Fundis, Steve Ard, David Thompson, Mark Lackey, Christine McKim, Tom Stanley and Steve Betts.
We are so happy that you’re a part of our team! Happy Birthday and all the best to you in the year to come.
Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) is planning to use recycled iron fillings, from the automotive industry, to treat contaminated groundwater at the Savannah Rivers Site (SRS). This plan, scheduled for completion in November, will use 760 tons of recycled iron filings to create a 264-foot-long, 23,000-square-foot metal wall – to neutralize the solvents contaminating the groundwater.
Phillip Prater, a senior physical scientist with the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Operations Office said, the contaminated water will cascade down through the filings, interacting with the iron which will break down the structure of the contaminants, making them harmless. He went on to say, that this system design would work for decades, with little maintenance, and because this technology enables precision placement – they can actually intercept the contaminated groundwater plume in a narrow zone, as it travels along a subsurface stream bed channel.
These recycled filings are mixed with a food-grade, starch-like material, and will be injected into 22 wells, each ~12 feet apart. The high-pressure injection will create fractures within the subsurface rock, providing a space to be filled by the mixture – upon completion – it will create a 4-inch-thick, water-permeable wall that will be ~135 feet below the earth’s surface, at its deepest point.
From 1954 to 1984, the site’s P Reactor produced tritium and plutonium in support of the nation’s Cold War nuclear deterrent efforts. The solvents used at that reactor and various waste sites, across the SRS, seeped into the subsurface over time. However, Mark Amidon, a scientist at the Savannah River National Laboratory said, “We are confident that our goals will be fully achieved related to this remarkably cost-effective project at the Savannah River Site”, and Seth Miller, the SRNS Project Manager for the groundwater cleanup said, “This highly efficient environmental cleanup technology is another asset within the arsenal of environmental restoration tools assembled for use across SRS”.
Two Idaho Senators, Jim Risch and Mike Carpo, worked diligently for the 2018 passage of the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act. Their efforts resulted in authorization for a National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC).
This week, the INL (Idaho National Laboratory) announced that the National Reactor Innovation Center will be located at the INL, which most likely means that the Versatile Test Reactor will be built at the INL, as well. The announcement coincided with the 70th anniversary of the lab, which was called the Nuclear Reactor Testing Station when it was founded in 1949.
The Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) will be the first new test reactor built in the U.S. in decades and give the nation a dedicated “fast-neutron-spectrum” testing capability. The DOE recently announced it will prepare an environmental impact statement as part of the process to build the test reactor at INL or at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
The reactor center announcement wasn’t unexpected. INL officials said in January that the lab seemed like the likely site for the center. The legislation, which had bipartisan support and passed both the House and Senate on voice votes, authorized creating the National Reactor Innovation Center and contained several other provisions to encourage collaboration between the DOE, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and private industry on new reactor development.
A House appropriations proposal for next year contains $5 million for the NRIC. The Senate hasn’t yet put together its Energy and Water appropriations proposal, but Risch and Crapo plan to “continue to advocate for robust funding for the NRIC and other nuclear energy priorities”.
DOE plans to make a siting decision in 2022 and have the VTR operational by 2026.
TVA recently completed a $475 million power upgrade at its Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant. Over the past 4 years, they made more than 200 equipment modifications to the reactors resulting in an additional 465 megawatts of power, increasing its capacity enough to supply the energy needs of another 280,000 homes.
“We’re very proud of our program at Browns Ferry and I think it was a great effort by our nuclear team,” TVA President and CEO Jeff Lyash said in a conference call with industry analysts last week.
Combined with the addition of a second reactor at its Watts Bar Nuclear Plant two years ago and additional solar power generation and energy efficiency, Lyash said he expects TVA to be able to reduce its carbon emissions by 70% from the 2005 levels by 2030.
Warmest wishes for a Happy Birthday to Pat McHale, Dawn Fernandes, Mick Youmans, Joe Willingham, John Hurtado, Ed Kozinsky and Phillip Hernandez.
We are so happy that you’re a part of our team! Happy Birthday and all the best to you in the year to come.
Ohio Lawmakers passed HB-6 with a 51–38 vote, yesterday – July 23, 2019 – and Ohio’s Governor Mike DeWine quickly signed it. This makes Ohio the fifth state to pass legislation to support nuclear plants located within their states (Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut).
Nuclear advocates, such as Maria Korsnick, president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute cheered the bill’s passage. She released in a statement, “Today’s decision echoes support we’ve seen in New Jersey, New York, Illinois and Connecticut and reaffirms the major role nuclear carbon free energy has in lowering carbon emissions,” Maria Korsnick, president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute, said in a statement.
The law essentially provides FirstEnergy Solution’s (FES’s) Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear power plants with an estimated $150 million a year during the 2021 to 2027 period to keep the reactors in service, along with $20 million a year for future solar farms.. It also provides about $60 million a year through 2030 to keep two Ohio Valley Electric Corp. (OVEC) coal plants—one in Ohio and another in Indiana—in operation.