Environomics: Major Nuclear Builder Abandoning the Business
Despite massive taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies, nuclear power construction has become so economically noncompetitive that a major builder is abandoning the business.
Tokyo-based Toshiba Corp., which owns Westinghouse Electric Co., is reportedly in the process of getting out of the nuclear plant construction business altogether. According to the Japan Times, Toshiba will stop taking orders for new nuclear plants, and anticipates reporting this month that it is taking a financial write-down of up to $6 billion related to cost overruns in its nuclear construction business. Its stock price has dropped sharply and its debt ratings have gone into “junk bond” status out of concern over its losses. One U.S. project alone (the Vogtle project to add two new reactors to an existing Georgia Power plant near Augusta) is over three years behind schedule and more than $3 billion over budget.
The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) is calling on Florida Power & Light to halt its proposed addition of two more nuclear reactors to its Turkey Point power plant south of Miami, which would be designed and built by Westinghouse. “FPL’s Turkey Point nuclear expansion project was questionable from the beginning and now nearly a decade later with hundreds of millions of customers’ dollars spent, there is even less likelihood that this risky, expensive project will ever materialize,” said Stephen Smith, SACE’s executive director.
We’re fortunate that North Carolina no longer has a Dept. of Environmental Quality secretary (Donald van der Vaart) out to derail solar and wind projects and substitute more nuclear construction. Thank you, Gov. Cooper.