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« Inside the Carolinas nuclear fallout: An expected surge in U.S. nuclear plant construction has hit a dead end with two S.C. projects shelved | Main | A nuclear boondoggle by any other name is still a boondoggle: then, now, forever »
Friday
Aug252017

Another one bites the dust! Duke Carolinas cancels the proposed new William States Lee III Nuclear Station!

In a letter to the North Carolina Public Service Commission, the major nuclear utility Duke Carolinas has requested leave to cancel its proposed new William States Lee III Nuclear (Power) Station, Units 1 and 2, targeted at Gaffney, Cherokee County, South Carolina.

John Runkle, an attorney based in Chapel Hill, NC, representing North Carolina Waste Awareness Reduction Network (NC WARN), pointed out that the utility applicant, Duke Carolinas, simultaneously filed for a rate hike of 16.7%, including $400 million for pre-construction costs for the now cancelled nuclear power plant.

(The Charlotte Business Journal has reported on Duke's requested rate hike in North Carolina.

As the article reports:

The proposal that Duke Carolinas should recover its investment to date in the Lee Nuclear plant is also likely to rouse opposition.

The North Carolina share of that investment would be about $368 million.

Fountain and Duke Carolinas count that money as part of the “smart investments” Duke is making in a cleaner energy future. Although the utility wants to cancel the Lee plant, Fountain says, Duke will hold onto the Nuclear Regulatory Commission license it got for the plant in December to keep the option of building a different nuclear plant some time in the future. The license remains effective for 40 years after it is issued.

But there will be opposition to Duke’s charging customers for an abandoned plant. And it is not clear that Duke had authorization from regulators to spend that much money on the pre-construction costs.)

NC WARN has issued a press release:

Duke Energy’s Nuclear Boondoggle: Cancellation After Tragic Delay – NC WARN News Release

As the US nuclear “renaissance” collapses, we urge CEOs to turn hard toward climate protection

NC WARN's press release links to more than a decade's worth of resistance to W.C. Lee nuclear power plant, and related efforts to block identically designed Toshiba-Westinghouse AP1000 proposed new reactors at other southeastern sites.

 

Lou Zeller, executive director of Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL), raised a toast "to the demise of another nuclear dinosaur," in celebration of a decade of hard fought, and now successful, opposition to W.S. Lee. BREDL intervened against W.S. Lee before the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), at the dawn of the now largely cancelled "Nuclear Power Renaissance" (Relapse, more appropriately; see below).

Zeller also acknowledged Runkle and others' work in the rate process proceedings of the South Carolina Public Service Commission, and North Carolina Utilities Commission, which expanded and strengthened the fight against W.S. Lee.

The now cancelled William States Lee III Nuclear (Power) Station, Units 1 and 2, had already received Combined Licenses (for construction and operations) from the Nuclear "Rubber-stamp" Commission, despite BREDL's best efforts in its intervention.

But note the status of NRC's list of Combined License holders:

Can we largely -- hopefully soon, entirely -- say "Nuclear Renaissance" denied? "Nuclear Relapse" denied!

And this is not just in the U.S. Take our neighbor, Canada, for example. The Canadian nuclear establishment in industry and government had hoped to build new reactors in Ontario and Alberta. The latter faded away many year ago. Beyond Nuclear's reactor oversight project director, Paul Gunter, travelled to Alberta more than once to speak out against those proposed new reactors.

And re: the former, proposed new build at Bruce Nuclear Generating Station on Lake Huron, and at Darlington Nuclear Generating Station on Lake Ontario, have been largely to entirely blocked, not only due to abysmal economics, but also to a groundswell of opposition -- in environmental, licensing, and legal proceedings. In 2010-2011, Beyond Nuclear's radioactive waste watchdog, Kevin Kamps, provided expert witness support, regarding high-level radioactive waste issues, to Northwatch, in its environmental and licensing intervention against the Darlington new build, which later went to court).

As revealed by the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report, such a cancellation of proposed nuclear new build is the growing trend worldwide.