As the nuclear industry plans to celebrate the NRC’s upcoming approval of construction licenses for two Westinghouse reactors, which Georgia Power is already building at Plant Vogtle, NC WARN urges the news media to scrutinize a top industry talking point: that nuclear will help with climate change by replacing coal power.
A few key points that warrant attention:
- Georgia Power (part of Southern Company), plans to burn almost as much coal in 2020 as it does now. As with the few other US utilities still hoping to build nukes, GP has no intention of using them to replace the coal-fired power plants it actually uses.
- Georgia Power plans virtually zero use of energy efficiency, solar or wind power. As with other Southeast utilities, GP works to impede growth in those clean technologies.
- Energy-saving, solar, wind and cogeneration (also called combined heat and power) are abundant resources across the Southeast, and all are now cheaper than new nuclear power could ever be. Ramping them up is the exact path needed to phase out coal, but because they compete with new nuclear, the utilities have stymied their development.
- These numbers are from utility long-range planning documents. More can be found in NC WARN’s October report, New Nuclear Power is Ruining Climate Protection Efforts and Harming Customers.
As ecological and economic collapses continue accelerating due to climate disruption, the theory that new nuclear plants can help is fully refuted by the actual practices of the US utilities hoping to build them.
Thanks to you journalists who are scrutinizing the industry’s prodigious PR efforts.