The Dernogalizer

August 26, 2010

Prospects dim for third Calvert Cliffs nuclear unit

Filed under: Energy/Climate,MD Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 9:26 pm
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As I said in my column on the economics of nuclear power, it’s just too expensive to build.  The Calvert Cliffs plant in Maryland is in doubt, and that’s with the expectation there will be a multi-billion dollar loan guarantee for the project.

As I wrote last fall…

A common perception of nuclear power is that it’s an affordable, carbon-free energy source that could meet a lot of America’s demand for electricity, if only those darn environmentalists would get out of the way. Unfortunately for nuclear power advocates and Maryland ratepayers, this statement crumbles upon contact with reality.”

Reality bites hard

Constellation Energy and the French EDF Group say they’re committed to building an enormous nuclear-power plant next to the one Constellation already operates at Calvert Cliffs on the Chesapeake Bay. But the $9 billion project looks less and less certain with each month that goes by.

It’s not just the delayed Department of Energy review of the government-backed financing. (Without that financing, the unit is dead. Constellation complained last week about the procrastination.)

It’s not just the usual political catfight for government resources, although with Calvert Cliffs in his district, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer is a formidable ally.

It’s that the very economics of nuclear power look vastly different than they did two years ago. Or two weeks ago, for that matter. It’s far from sure that the Calvert Cliffs expansion, proposed by the Constellation-EDF joint venture known as UniStar Nuclear, will proceed even if it gets government money.”

Read the rest of the article

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