Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Georgia Nuclear Power Plant

Why should the energyguy be concerned with the goings-on in Georgia, as it relates to a nuclear power plant?  Energyguy lives and works in California, an entire continent removed from Georgia.   Because a nuke is a nuke is a nuke.  Nukes are too expensive, too cumbersome, and too toxic. 

Georgia's power company wants permission from the state regulatory commission, PSC, to charge ratepayers now for capital funds to be used later to build a $14 billion twin-reactor nuclear plant.  The PSC apparently is balking, so Georgia Power is trying to get the legislature to pass a bill that will allow this.  The idea is that if the money is in the bank when construction starts, there will be no need for an expensive construction loan, and the ultimate cost of the plant will be less.  With a less-expensive plant, the ratepayers will not have to pay as much for the electricity. 

What they are not telling you is that the more money a utility spends for a power plant, the higher their profit because they are allowed a fixed return on the investment.  Which would any of us rather have, a 6 percent return on a bank balance of $100,000, or on a balance of $1 million?  Not too hard to figure that one out.   So, of course a public utility like Georgia Power wants to build the most expensive form of electricity they can, for which they would charge the ratepayers between $0.25 and $0.30 per kwh.  

This is a bad idea for Georgia citizens because there appears to be no guarantee that Georgia Power will actually build the nuclear plant.    We can only hope that the PSC says no, and so does the Georgia legislature.  

Roger E. Sowell, Esq. 

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