Gov. Perdue wants more nuclear business in N.C.
North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue invited nuclear industry executives to move operations to North Carolina, and Progress Energy Inc. CEO Bill Johnson predicted a strong future for the industry as the Nuclear Energy Assembly wrapped up today in Charlotte.
Johnson was the last speaker at the conference, which attracted more than 600 participants to The Westin Charlotte. Johnson is chairman of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry association that organized the three-day event.
He acknowledged that, in the near term, construction of nuclear plants will be more modest than had been expected just a few years ago.
Johnson said there is less need for the large-scale base-load plants, given the sluggish growth in demand following the 2008 recession, he said. For now, most power-plant construction is likely to go to natural gas facilities, considering the “abnormally low” price for the fuel now.
And Johnson said regulatory issues — from plant permitting to the uncertainty over carbon regulation — are also hampering the industry in the United States.
The industry will turn to a boom in nuclear construction overseas while it waits for the domestic market for nuclear plants to recover, he said. Johnson expects that to be well under way by 2020.
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