The fate of nuclear power in America is tied to the national economy. A return to growth will spur renewed interest in nuclear generation, according to Michael Rencheck, Areva chief executive officer.
ENERGYBIZ: What is the future of new nuclear power construction in the United States?
Rencheck: There are five plants being built today — for the first time in 30 years. Southern Company is building two Vogtle units in Georgia. SCANA is building two Virgil C. Summer plants in South Carolina. The Tennessee Valley Authority is completing construction on Watts Bar 2.
ENERGYBIZ: Will more units be built after these five?
Rencheck: Electric demand is down. It hasn’t recovered anywhere close to pre-recession levels. Shale gas is now capping market prices. Additionally, about 20 to 30 gigawatts of coal are coming out of production. In unregulated power markets, you don’t really see a whole lot of plants being built. Until the economy and demand recover, you are going to see a very sluggish growth for new plant additions of any type of technology. read article