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Energy Coffee video: It’s all about bringing back the domestic infrastructure

See a short video of Power Engineering’s Rod Walton talking about EPC and energy infrastructure investment.

Two stories have caught the attention of Power Engineering readers in the past week or so.

One was about the U.S. Nuclear Fuels Working Group’s call for reinvigorating that sector of the electricity mix. The group, which was called into the study by President Trump, argued passionately that the entire U.S. nuclear fuels supply chain –from uranium mining and milling all the way to the reactor technologies—must be embraced once again as if this were the heyday of 1970 all over again.

And that is not a slight in the least. Until Three Mile Island happened, the nuclear power industry was vibrant in the U.S. Many of those plants commissioned then are still generating carbon-free energy and may do so for another 20 years or more.

The backlash to that call, however, is no less important. Building a nuclear plant is prohibitively expensive—just ask Southern Co. in its $25 billion expansion at Vogtle, or the South Carolina utilities which abandoned the Summers reactor expansion in 2018 with $9 billion spent and no energy produced. The move to advanced technologies such as small modular reactors, if and when it happens, could reduce costs but nuclear will still struggle to compete with the lower-priced economics of natural gas, wind and solar.

Another story which apparently intrigued the Power Engineering audience was about Bechtel’s CEO, Brenden Bechtel, writing an open letter to the White House asking for investment in infrastructure to help pull the economy out of the coronavirus collapse. Brenden Bechtel was asked by the president to be part of an economic recovery task force, and the Bechtel company is one of the energy industry’s largest engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors.

As part of Clarion’s Energy Coffee series of short videos, PE and POWERGEN International Content Director Rod Walton gives the brief overview of the infrastructure story from his very own garage. Click here to see the video.

Doing utility work, both in the plant and on down the line, is also certainly challenging while COVID-19 dominates the world’s attention. Walton will moderate a May 13 webinar on managing your utility workforce during the time of coronavirus.

to register and find out more about the webinar.