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Your Views: Nuclear power needed to keep state’s business climate healthy

POSTED: July 18, 2014 1:00 a.m.

In response to Joan King’s column of July 1: I’m tired of reading and responding to her ill- and misinformed rants about nuclear power, and specifically, Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle nuclear units Nos. 3 and 4, now under construction.

However, I refuse to let her emotional tirades cloud the facts of the matter. The television network CNBC recently rated Georgia the best state in the nation for doing business. That probably indicates that Georgia is creating jobs for its citizens and that the economy is healthy and growing.

A reliable and affordable supply of electric power is an essential ingredient in order for this to happen. In other words, economic growth does not result in the need to increase the supply of electricity; that electrical generating capacity must already be in place and the resulting electricity available in order for economic growth to occur.

Georgia Power is committed to a diversified generation mix. In 2013, the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance rated Georgia as the seventh-fastest growing state for solar energy. Add to this the desire to shut down older, less efficient and more noxious coal-fired power plants and the result favors adding more nuclear power to the mix.

Ms. King mentions that UBS Financial Services recently downgraded Southern Co., of which Georgia Power is a subsidiary.

The many large investment firms like UBS frequently provide their clients with “buy,” “hold,” or “sell” advice. Any given stock is going to cycle through these categories over time. That fact that one of these organizations has recommended “sell” to its customers is irrelevant in the long-term scheme of things. Any such accusation should at least list the recommendations of the other dozens of such investment houses.

King also states that “this is $20 billion in public money that’s being squandered ...” I can’t imagine where she got this ridiculous information. The plant won’t cost $20 billion and most of the investment is not public money. It’s sad this kind of grossly inaccurate statement finds its way into print.

Georgia Power has an “A” credit rating with Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. That alone should pour water on King’s unsubstantiated accusation that “Wall Street won’t touch nuclear these days.” And in light of the recent federal limits on carbon dioxide emissions from newly constructed power plants, I’m guessing that a number of utilities nationwide are seriously considering nuclear power.

I looked up the capacity factors for Plant Vogtle Units No. 1 and 2 on the International Atomic Energy Association website, which tracks the performance of the approximately 435 nuclear plants operating worldwide, including the 100 plus units in the U.S. Both Vogtle units are generating electric power for our state at over 90 percent capacity. This is clean, safe and affordable power for the “best in the nation for business” state.

Vogtle units nos. 3 and 4, now under construction, will increase Georgia Power’s electric capacity to 20 percent nuclear. This is a prudent mix and we’re lucky to have such a progressive utility enhancing the quality of life for all of us.

William D. Rezak


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