Thursday, June 9, 2011

Update on the Humboldt Bay nuke

This is an update you on what is going on with the decommissioning of our local Humboldt Bay Nuclear Power, and the demolition of the two old Fossil Fuel units which have been replaced by our new state-of-the-art engines.
Last year, I reported that the decommissioning estimate had risen from $378.5M to "about" $500M. After pressuring PG&E, I finally got some specific numbers at our Citizen's Advisory Board meeting last night. The decom process is at its half way point. A lot of major pieces of equipment have been removed, but a lot of serious work and a lot of hauling away remains. The cost estimate is now $600M, and the project should be complete by the end of 2015. This cost does include a $40M expenditure to guard and maintain the spent fuel that is in dry cask storage on site from 2015 to 2020. A lot can change in the next 4-9 years. The Trust fund is currently at $305M, and PG&E is collecting $14M/year from its ratepayers. They say that the fund is making money from fixed-income investments (I hope it isn't Bernie Maddoff"s) and at some point within the next 10 years, all this will be paid for.

Just a little mind exercise, to put things in perspective!?

The 62MW Humboldt Bay Nuclear Power Plant was built for $33 million, and operated from 1962 to 1976. An optimistic estimate of 5.5 billion KWH was generated during its 14 year operational life. The current cost to decommission is close to $600 million. That comes out to about 11 cents/KWH for that nuclear electricity…just for decommissioning! Whew! There are about 100 more nuclear plants in the US that will have to be decommissioned, and paid for by future generations. And the high-level waste???$$$$$$??????

On the Fossil side, the demolition cost is somewhere around $75M. That work will be done by the end of August...pretty impressive to see this thing come down.

These are the two old 60MW natural gas boilers, turbines, and generators

Here the units were shrink-wrapped in plastic to create a negative atmosphere inside

for the asbestos removal..this was three months ago

Today. All this will be gone by the end of August

The nuclear unit (#3) is out of sight to the right, and will remain until about 2014

Currently, all this is providing 400 good paying jobs here in Humboldt County! Our "tax" dollars at work!

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