If only it was the Genie making a come back. Then I could try for my three wishes: one for world peace, one for a silver VW bug, and one for a world powered by renewable energy.
Unfortunately, it looks like it may be a while before my third wish comes true (and I guess number two because, well, the bug is a little expensive for me).
Instead, for the first time in 35 years, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved its first new license for the construction and operation of a nuclear power plant. After the accident at Three Miles Island in 1978, applications stopped rolling into the NRC. So the last nuclear power plant to be constructed was TVA’s Watts Bar plant, which started construction in 1973.
That’s right folks (particularly y’all down in Georgia). Southern Company, the company responsible for bringing this baby to life, will build two nuclear power plants on the Vogtle site just outside of Georgia’s capital, Augusta. Already $4 billion has been invested in the site; Southern Co. projects costs totaling $13.3 billion. It should also be noted that Southern obtained a loan guarantee from that infamous DOE loan guarantee program (the same program that financed Solyndra) for $8.3 billion. Southern applied for their permit in March 2008. With this approval, they expect to bring the plants online by 2016 or 2017.
Let the nuclear renaissance begin! Actually, bringing it back may be a little more challenging than advocates were expecting. Nuclear has to compete with natural gas, which is currently a hot and cheap commodity. The cheapness and wide availability has put many planned nuclear projects on the shelf. Georgia residents also have their own problems to contend with. As the Washington Post’s Steve Mufson points out Georgia allows their utilities to charge their ratepayers for the costs while construction is ongoing. Many other states will not allow utilities to pass on the costs until their plants become operational. Oh, and then there’s still that pesky waste problem with no solution…. So there’s a couple of things to consider here before bring out the champagne and celebrating.