Westinghouse could provide reactors for Utah nuclear site
Westinghouse Electric Co. has an inside track on providing two of its new reactors for a proposed nuclear power plant in Utah.
The Cranberry company and Orem, Utah-based developer Blue Castle Holdings on Wednesday announced they will exclusively negotiate a deal to partner on the project. Blue Castle wants to use Westinghouse's AP1000 reactors — and potentially a modified version for earthquake-prone areas — in its applications for permits and licenses to build at the Green River site.
“We're excited to move into this next step. It provides a lot of certainty to work with Westinghouse,” said Blue Castle CEO Aaron Tilton. The project has won several regulatory battles but is four or five years from receiving any licenses to start building, Tilton said.
Westinghouse has eight AP1000 reactors under construction: four in China, two in Georgia and two in South Carolina. It also signed agreements in the past few months to build in the United Kingdom and Bulgaria.
“In the U.S., the only (new) reactor currently under construction is the AP1000, so that makes it a logical choice for Blue Castle,” said Chris Gadomski, lead nuclear analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance in New York.
Tilton said negotiations would include a potential price. The reactors are estimated to cost about $5 billion each. Southern Co. CEO Thomas Fanning said the Vogtle plant his company is building with AP1000 reactors in Georgia will cost $14 billion.
About 12 projects are proposed around the country. Seven others were suspended since 2009, including an AP1000 project proposed in North Carolina. The 2011 disaster in Fukushima, Japan, had a chilling effect on nuclear plans as regulators and operators re-examined seismic and flood protections around the 100 existing reactors in the United States.
In June, Westinghouse officials met with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to discuss plans to tailor the reactor for use in earthquake-prone areas in the western United States and other countries.
Blue Castle has not completed the necessary testing to determine if increased seismic guards will be needed at the Green River site, Tilton said. The moves Westinghouse has made to get approval for the modified design made it more attractive to Blue Castle, though.
“I think it was beneficial to both parties,” Tilton said, noting that if more protection from earthquakes is required, Westinghouse already is seeking approval for a modified design.
Emery County, the location of the proposed plant, has a history of earthquakes with a magnitude above 5.
It also has access to lots of water, which the AP1000 design uses to cool its reactors. In November, a Utah judge upheld the state's approval of Blue Castle's plan to draw water from the Green River.
Blue Castle has spent about $20 million over seven years on development of the site, Tilton said. Eventually it will seek utilities to buy equity in the plant's ownership and operation.
“We take all the risk. We take the slings and arrows,” he said.
David Conti is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5802 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers trim roster to 75
- Westinghouse assistant coach placed on leave
- Steelers trade 6th-round pick for Jaguars kicker Scobee
- Steelers WR Bryant’s suspension upheld
- Aliquippa RB Bronaugh to miss season after cancer diagnosis
- LaBar: Sting making history fighting for WWE title
- Fayette pastor who advocated against removal of Ten Commandments monument dies
- August stock markets marked by fierce, deep selling
- McKinley backers balk over mountain’s name change
- Injured DT Render missing from Pitt depth chart
- Steelworkers union says ATI talks to resume