According to this story in the Winston-Salem Journal, the debate about nucular energy is pretty much over. How else can you interpret the fact that the Secretary of Energy says our government will be providing incentives for new construction of nucular plants?
The nation's top energy official announced a plan yesterday to provide incentives to companies willing to build the first nuclear plants in 30 years, offering $2 billion in federal insurance for the construction of six plants.
"I think it's time for the nation that invented this technology to reassert its leadership," said Samuel Bodman, the secretary of energy.
The United States has 103 nuclear-power plants in 31 states, but utilities have not proposed a new reactor since 1973. High costs and debate over where to store radioactive waste bogged down construction efforts, and a partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island plant in 1979 in Pennsylvania put an end to plans for new reactors. But with energy prices on the rise, supporters of nuclear power have promoted it as a way to generate cheaper electricity without churning out greenhouse gases.
Bodman said that 12 utilities are expected to file papers over the next three years to build 18 reactors. The insurance plan would provide up to $500 million in coverage for the first two plants and up to $250 million for the next four plants.
"This program is crucial, we believe, to reinvigorating the American nuclear-power industry," Bodman told employees of Georgia Power Co. during a visit to Atlanta.
Georgia Power, which provides electricity to the Atlanta area, might take up Bodman's offer. The company is considering building a reactor at its Plant Vogtle site near Waynesboro, Ga.
"It's a very long process. So in order to keep that option open, we are actually taking steps right now that will at least allow us to be in the running," said Carol Boatwright, a company spokeswoman.
In March, Duke Energy Corp. chose a site in Cherokee County, S.C., for a possible nuclear-power plant. Duke officials are working with Southern Co., an electric-utility company based in Atlanta, to develop the site upstate.
Over the past six years, the Bush sadministration has ignored science about climate change, dragged its feet on funding for renewable energy, and helped line the pockets of Big Oil Companies, which are now reporting record profits every quarter. Regarding this convergence of events, Dick Cheney would say, "I love it when a plan comes together."
If things go according to Darth Cheney's plan, we'll soon be trading in our old Global Warming Crisis for a brand spanking new Radioactive World Crisis! Oh joy.