The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 07/31/08
Georgia Power is expected to file for Georgia Public Service Commission approval of two new nuclear reactors Friday, beginning an eight-month approval process.
The company and its parent, Southern Co., are among nine utilities with construction and operation licenses for 15 reactors pending at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. That number will likely grow.
The companies are competing for a limited number of tax credits that could net – in Southern's case – up to $125 million per year for eight years.
The credits will be divvied among companies that meet several requirements: file a license application by the Dec. 31 deadline, pour concrete by 2014 and begin operating by 2021.
Also, the first two new reactors will each get $500 million of insurance against regulatory delay.
Georgia Power says new reactors will help diversify power supply options at a time when others – like coal-fired and gas-fired plants – are being battered by soaring fuel costs. They also point out reactors do not emit carbon. Growth in Georgia will demand new plants that can run 24-7, year-round, the company says. Nuclear fits the bill.
Environmental groups and others say new reactors are a bad idea, especially since there's no permanent place to store nuclear waste. The first generation of U.S. reactors came with a staggering price tag and huge cost overruns, they say. Conservation and renewable energy should be Georgia's first priority.