The Vogtle Unit 3 nuclear reactor began its commercial operations at the end of July. Based in Georgia, the facility will provide clean electricity to the southeast U.S. for likely longer than the next half-century. This marks the first U.S. deployment of Westinghouse’s AP1000 Generation III+ reactor. Its completion represents a significant milestone in the U.S. nuclear industry, being the first reactor to be built from scratch in more than a decade. Detractors will point to the massively over-budget and over-time project completion, though the next generation of nuclear technology is leaps ahead regarding safety and project standup time. If a resurgence is to occur, the ability of new advanced nuclear reactors to provide low-emissions baseload power with a fraction of the footprint of renewables (Figure 1) positions them well for the grid of the future.
Are we on the brink of a potential resurgence of nuclear deployments? Microsoft and Nucor are among the major U.S. companies to have initiated equity partnerships with advanced reactor companies, signaling an interest and commitment to exploring the potential of utilizing nuclear energy in their operations. Additionally, representatives of eastern European nations have committed to the deployment of dozens of advanced reactors before the end of the decade. Suppliers in the U.S. and abroad look to Europe’s favorable regulatory frameworks and approval processes to lead the adoption of new reactor technologies, expecting that once ground is broken on initial facility sites the North American market will change its tune.
Highlights from Energy Transition Research
- Broad reach crystallizes more than $1 billion in 4 years, Engie gets meaningful upside – French multinational utility company Engie has agreed to acquire the battery storage assets of Houston-based Broad Reach Power.
- Occidental buys direct air capture partner carbon engineering for $1.1 billion – Furthering its bet on direct air capture, Occidental Petroleum is buying Canada-based Carbon Engineering for $1.1 billion cash consisting of three equal payments with the first due at closing.
- Unpacking EPA emissions proposal – Forced coal retirements and rising power costs – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new emission standards for power plants. This Prism Signal examines the cost implications of its enactment for the sector and for particular companies that would be most impacted by the regulation.
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