Proponents of nuclear power are pushing to revive a failed project to build two reactors in South Carolina, arguing that the demise of the $14 billion venture could signal doom for an industry that supplies one-fifth of the nation’s electricity.
Even though the nation’s 99 commercial nuclear reactors supply about 20 percent of U.S. electricity, no new nuclear plant has been built from scratch in more than 30 years. Supporters were alarmed when two South Carolina utilities halted construction on a pair of reactors that once were projected to usher in a new generation of nuclear power to provide reliable, cost-effective, carbon-free electricity for decades.
Instead the project was plagued by billions of dollars in cost overruns, stagnant demand for electricity, competition from cheap natural gas and – most importantly – the bankruptcy of Westinghouse Electric, the lead contractor.
The July 31 suspension of the partly completed V.C. Summer project near Columbia, South Carolina, leaves two nuclear reactors under construction in Georgia as the only ones being built in the U.S. The collapse of the nearly decade-old project in South Carolina could cost ratepayers billions of dollars for work that ultimately provides no electricity and could signal that new nuclear plants are impossible to complete in the United States.
“These reactors failing would be the end of a nuclear renaissance before it even started,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Okay, here’s the deal: Give us an HONEST accounting of what it will cost to run this power plant. You must include the cost of liability insurance (No one will write a liability policy for a nuke, so the taxpayers get stuck when it goes Fukushima) and the cost of handling the waste products that must be safeguarded for several eons (50 rent-a-cops a day, 24 hours a day, every day for the next…oh, let’s say 24,000 to 2 million years.