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Explore the Biden-Xi Meeting David Sacks U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping meet on the sidelines of the Group of Twenty summit in Bali, Indonesia. Kevin Lamarque/ReutersThe meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping did not resolve major disagreements, but it could start the process of building guardrails to prevent competition from turning into conflict. Read more on Asia Unbound
The meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping did not resolve major disagreements, but it could start the process of building guardrails to prevent competition from turning into conflict.
On the margins of the Group of Twenty (G20) gathering in Bali, Indonesia, U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met for the first time in person as leaders of their respective nations. Their three-and-a-half-hour meeting came against the backdrop of heightened tensions over Taiwan, unprecedented U.S. export controls on advanced technologies levied against China, ramped up North Korean missile tests, and the ongoing war in Ukraine.
The original target power price for a planned 12-module SMR by UAMPS (Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems) and NuScale Power Corporation was $55 per megawatt-hour (MWh).
When UAMPS reduced the size of the carbon-free power plant (CFPP) to six modules in the summer of 2021, it raised the target power price to $58 per MWh.
Recent presentations to the power boards of Washington City and Hurricane, two of the Utah communities that have signed agreements to buy power from the CFPP, suggest that project power prices are now likely to end up in the range of $90-$100 per MWh.
The prices include an anticipated $1.4 billion subsidy from the U.S. Department of Energy and a new subsidy from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) on the order of $30 per MWh. The unsubsidized price of the power from the CFPP would be substantially higher than $100 per MWh, perhaps even double the current $58 target price.
The estimated target price of the power from the CFPP has gone up because projected building costs have increased. According to minutes of the October 2022 meeting of the Idaho Falls Power Board, the increased costs in the new Class 3 cost estimate currently being finalized for the CFPP have been shocking, even to NuScale and Fluor, the company responsible for overall management of the project.
Even if the new target price is only in the range of $90 to $100 per MWh, there is no guarantee that this will be the actual price that communities will pay for the power from the CFPP. The power sales contract for the project binds communities to pay the actual costs and expenses of the project—no matter how much.
An official at the Hurricane, Utah, power board’s October meeting said the anticipated new cost estimate increase is a “big red flag in our face.”
The CFPP Can Be Expected to Experience Additional Cost Increases
UAMPS currently projects that the CFPP will be completed in 2030. That leaves eight years left in the project schedule to complete the project’s design, licensing, construction and pre-operational and startup testing.
NuScale has told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that the project design work won’t be completed until an application for a combined operating license is submitted, which is not expected until early 2024. Nuclear-related construction is not expected to begin before late 2025.
Nuclear industry experience over the past four decades points to the likelihood of future cost increases and schedule delays during all phases of the project—design, construction, licensing, and testing. For example, the estimated all-in cost of the two new reactors at Georgia Power’s Vogtle project, the only new reactors currently being built in the U.S., has increased by 140% since nuclear construction began in 2011. Vogtle’s construction also has taken far longer than originally estimated; both reactors are currently more than six years behind schedule.
Few New Utilities Have Signed Up to Buy Power From the CFPP
When IEEFA released its report on the NuScale SMR in February 2022, communities had signed up to buy only 101 megawatts (MW) of the 462MW CFPP. According to the presentations to the Washington City and Hurricane power boards, the situation appears not to have changed. For example, the Washington City power department director told the city’s power board on Nov. 1 that the biggest challenge to the CFPP is the number of MWs subscribed. Parties seem interested in the CFPP but are wary about potential cost overruns.
It is reasonable to expect that if communities were reluctant to sign on to the CFPP at a target price of $58 per MWh, they’re likely to be much more wary if the project’s target price of power goes to $90 to $100 per MWh or higher.
The general manager of the Idaho Falls Power Board believes it would be difficult to secure financing for the CFPP without a fully subscribed project.
Higher CFPP Power Prices Will Make It Even Less Competitive
A February 2022 IEEFA report on NuScale showed that renewable resources and battery storage will provide reliable electricity at lower cost than the UAMPS CFPP—even if price for the power from the project is just $58 per MWh.
David Schlissel is IEEFA’s Director of Resource Planning Analysis. His work focuses primarily on the technical and economic viability of resources being used or being proposed for use in the electric power sector.
“Have you found a new job?” For the last 10 days, this has invariably been the question on every worker’s lips at a residential block in HCMC’s District 12.
Located on Le Van Khuong Street, the block has over 40 rooms and the majority of tenants are workers of garment factory Sun Kyoung Vietnam, which is 100% South Korean-owned.
Early November this month, the company declared that it will cease operations because partners had suddenly canceled all orders. This meant the dismissal of around 830 employees. Ten days after it made the closure announcement, the company made its final payments to the workers.
“I received a total of VND12 million ($484.26) as October salary and financial support,” said Chau Thi Ha, a 32-year-old Tra Vinh native who worked at the factory for more than two years.
Chau Thi Ha cooks dinner, her family’s one meal of the day, at a rented room in HCMC’s District 12. Photo by VnExpress/Le Tuyet
Điều gì đẩy các ngư dân đến nỗi tuyệt vọng đằng sau cánh cửa nhà giam của những nước láng giềng? Và tại sao dù biết kết cục cay đắng đó, nhiều người dân vẫn liên tiếp dấn tàu vào khu vực đánh bắt cá trái phép? Và lí do gì khiến nỗ lực gỡ thẻ vàng của Việt Nam vẫn chưa thể thành công?
Đánh bắt thủy hải sản trên vùng biển đảo Phú Quốc. Ảnh: Thuyền trưởng Nguyễn Văn Thành.
Trong căn buồng giam ở Tanjung Pinang, Indonesia, ngư phủ Việt Nam tên Nguyễn Văn Tư, 64 tuổi, một mình vật lộn với những cơn đau nhức ở cẳng chân. Mùa hè hai năm trước, tàu cá ông làm việc bị bắt quả tang đang thả lưới trái phép trong vùng biển Indonesia. Theo luật pháp nước này, những ngư dân làm thuê sẽ không bị phạt tù. Tuy nhiên, Tư đã không đủ tiền mua vé máy bay về nước sau phiên tòa nên bị giữ lại suốt 20 tháng qua.
Hàng trăm ngư dân Việt Nam giống Tư đang đợi chờ ngày về từ các nhà giam kham khổ của Indonesia nhưng có lẽ tình cảnh của Tư bi đát hơn cả. Ông bị tách ra khỏi đồng hương và bị giam riêng biệt do bị nghi mắc bệnh phong.
Thực trạng ngư dân Việt Nam xâm phạm vùng biển nước khác phổ biến đến mức, năm 2017, Việt Nam đã bị Ủy ban châu Âu (EC) rút thẻ vàng cảnh cáo hoạt động khai thác thủy sản. Theo số liệu thống kê của lực lượng Cảnh sát biển Việt Nam, hàng ngàn ngư dân trên hơn 1.000 tàu cá bị lực lượng chức năng các nước bắt giữ trong ba năm 2017-2020.
Lượng tàu cá Việt Nam tăng gần gấp bốn lần trong 20 năm qua. Tàu cá từ biển miền Trung và vùng Đồng bằng sông Cửu Long chiếm lần lượt 50% và 25% tàu cá toàn bộ đất nước. Biểu đồ: Thibi.co