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Private interests no longer backing nuclear projects

POSTED: August 27, 2011 1:00 a.m.

The nuclear elephant in the room is only touched on tangentially in Joan King's Tuesday column and Doug Everett's letter Thursday. That is the fact that the nuclear power industry is beginning to wither and fail because of its prohibitive costs and its demonstrated hazards to the livability of the planet. It is becoming very difficult to find private investors for new construction.

Everett does some fancy fan-fluttering but there is only one reasonable interpretation of the actions of the Georgia Public Service Commission and the Georgia Power Co. The project planned for Plant Vogtle by Georgia Power will increase the hazards by magnitudes, especially through clustering of reactors and used fuel rod storage. It simply doesn't pass muster as safe for shareholder investment, or for any Wall Street investor.

Georgia Power therefore went to a compliant PSC for money by way of rate increases in order to begin construction. These rate increases, just like taxes, are compulsory, nonrefundable and unavoidable. Also the analogy Everett makes to a grocery store is inappropriate in that a grocery customer may simply take his business to another store. Power customers cannot.

Even if Georgia Power and the PSC are not learning from the cost overruns around the country or the ongoing tragic failures, deaths and lasting widespread pollution of meltdowns at Chernobyl and the Fukushima, Japan reactors, private investors have.

Where is the public outrage?

W. Lorraine Watkins


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