In a recent poll, many US scientists said construction of nuclear power plants would help with climate change. This reflects a major disconnect between scientific expertise and energy and economic realities, at least in most nations. Unfortunately, the predictions by NC WARN and many others, beginning in 2004 when Dick Cheney announced the US nuclear “renaissance,” were entirely on target. We warned that corporations trying to build nuclear plants would waste billions of public dollars and many years while limiting solar, wind and efficiency advances that could help us cut carbon emissions fairly quickly.
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The biggest construction project in Georgia is also becoming one of the biggest budget busters in state history. And nearly every Georgian with a monthly electric bill may end up paying for it.
State legislators, apparently waking from a long winter’s nap, are introducing measures that would crack down on big power companies like Duke Energy Florida that are relentlessly gouging ratepayers.
In 2014, Duke’s delivered little but calamity, especially in Florida, where customers serve as company punching bags. But even in its home state of North Carolina, Duke fumbled. Now it’s busy downplaying a horrible environmental spill of its own making. A toxic sludge of 39,000 tons of arsenic-laced coal ash and 27,000 gallons of contaminated water now coats nearly 70 miles of the once-scenic Dan River.
In a state where economic, energy and environmental concerns grow more intensely intertwined, the assertive environmental nonprofit group NC WARN is working with the conservative nonprofit John Locke Foundation to sponsor two public forums calling for increased competition in the electricity market.
Video: Nuclear industry experts Arnie and Maggie Gundersen discuss the status of the ongoing nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan and the U.S. nuclear “renaissance.”
NC WARN today told new Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good we are astonished that Duke Energy is still considering buying into the VC Summer nuclear construction project after South Carolina regulators recently reiterated earlier warnings that the project is suffering enormous problems despite intensive efforts to correct them.
On Thursday, Duke Energy Florida (formerly Progress Energy) announced that the company would pull the plug on its future Levy Co. nuclear plant. And the money the company has been collecting from customers for years — and will continue to collect until 2018 — will go toward Duke Energy’s expenses and profits.
The promise of cheap, low-carbon power – with 31 new reactors in the US – was based on rhetoric and obedience. Anyone who doubts that should read the new status report on the industry. It is all in ruins now.