Vendor Neutral

(August 2011) Shaw Group completes 500 MW combined cycle plant; Pattern Energy begins building Spring Valley wind farm; AEP, Duke and TVA team up on interstate transmission line; AEP and MidAmerican contract for Texas transmission projects; Alliant contracts Open Systems International for volt-VAR control system; Alstom buys into AWS Ocean Energy; Siemens acquires shares in PV manufacturer Semprius; Lockheed Martin introduces cyber security system; plus contracts and announcements involving Elster, Itron, Suzlon, Solon, Sensus, Westinghouse Electric, Morgan Lewis and others.

Blue Ribbon Mission

Can a broadly based committee resolve the nuclear waste dilemma?

The Department of Energy assembled an all-star Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future. With such political and industry heavyweights as Brent Scowcroft, Lee Hamilton and John Rowe, the commission must be taken seriously. But can a broadly focused committee finish the decades-long battle to close the nuclear fuel cycle?

News Digest

Mergers & Acquisitions

NSP + New Century. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission OK'd the merger of Northern States Power Co. (NSP) and New Century Energies Inc. (NCE), to form Xcel Energy Inc., on condition that the new company would join the Midwest Independent System Operator. FERC Docket No. EC99-101- 000, Jan. 12, 2000, 90 FERC ¶61,020.

* Rate Pancaking. The FERC found no problem with transmission rate pancaking with the MISO condition, even though NCE subsidiary Southwestern Public Service Co. (SPS) belongs to the rival Southwest Power Pool.

Michigan Asks NRC to Act on Fuel Cask Procedures

Michigan Attorney General Frank J. Kelley has filed a request to intervene in an action pending before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The action concerns the NRC's failure to address a request by Consumers Power Co. to unload spent, high-level nuclear fuel from a defective cask at the Palisades nuclear plant.

Kelley is filing in support of a petition by two consumer groups that want the NRC to prevent Consumers from using dry-cask storage because the utility has violated its license to operate that system.

Court Upholds NRC Dry Cask Storage Rule

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has upheld the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC's) decision approving the VSC-24 concrete cask for storing spent nuclear fuels. The generic approval of the technology permitted Consumers Power Co. to construct dry cask facilities at its Palisades nuclear project and begin loading spent fuel. The State of Michigan and owners of land near the Palisades plant claimed that the Atomic Energy Act required the NRC to hold hearings to consider site-specific issues.

Court Upholds Storage Cask Licensing

A federal appeals court in Cincinnati has ruled that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) acted properly in licensing the use of ventilated, dry storage casks for spent nuclear fuel at Consumer Power Co.'s Palisades nuclear plant. Despite challenges from public interest groups and the attorney general of Michigan, the court found adequate input from the public in the NRC licensing process, which is used for all reactor sites nationwide. Michael G.