Nuclear Energy Can Power Our Future (letter)

When South Carolina’s utilities couldn’t get private financing to build new nuclear power plants, the state stepped in and allowed the utilities to fund the projects by raising customers’ rates. In 2017, construction of the partially completed V.C. Summer nuclear plant near Columbia, South Carolina, was halted. The project was plagued by billions of dollars in cost overruns, stagnant demand for electricity, competition from natural gas and the bankruptcy of its contractor. Ratepayers paid billions for this boondoggle.

Nuclear power is no longer competitive. Private funding for new facilities isn’t available because the economics don’t justify the loans. Using the public’s money to subsidize old plants can’t be justified, either. Currently, the industry has no permanent storage solution; and until one is available, Three Mile Island’s spent fuel will be temporarily stored onsite.

And we’ll pay for that temporary storage. Because our government failed to open a permanent storage facility by 1998, a number of utilities sued for breach of contract. As a result, the federal government has paid hundreds of millions in damages for costs associated with storing waste onsite.

This nuclear waste will remain radioactive for centuries. In the event of a natural disaster, accident or terrorist attack, once an insurance cap is reached, our government will pay any remaining costs. Meanwhile, the projected costs of temporary storage and permanent storage continue to skyrocket.

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Don’t let state Sen. Ryan Aument use our money to bail out his industry cronies. We have safer, more economical, clean energy alternatives.

Geoff Petrasek

Manheim Township

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