Cost worries over new US nuclear

The first new plans for a nuclear power station in the USA for thirty years have come under fire from campaigners who worry costs could spiral for consumers. Last week […]

By Vicky Ellis

The first new plans for a nuclear power station in the USA for thirty years have come under fire from campaigners who worry costs could spiral for consumers.

Last week state utility Georgia Power – owned by US firm Southern Company – won a licence to build two new reactors in Georgia.

Georgia Power’s chief executive Paul Bower said: “This $14 billion (£8.8bn) project is a tremendous boost for Georgia. This project is going to put people to work, with 4,000 to 5,000 on site jobs and 25,000 direct and indirect jobs.”

But campaigners are concerned over “secret” costs from delayed building.

Jim Warren, executive director at climate change protection group NC WARN said: “US taxpayers need to brace themselves for some bad news if they are put on the hook for any ill-considered ‘investment’ in the Vogtle reactors. Taxpayers and Southern Company’s customers are sitting ducks for serial cost overruns and soaring power bills.”

The group is one of several calling on the US Department of Energy (DOE) to make the nuclear power firm reveal the full cost of planning delays and cost overruns before it gets a loan guarantee from the federal agency.

The groups claim a taxpayer-backed loan could be up to $8.33 billion and worry this is too risky a sum.