Nuclear Update: Scandal over Wasted Multimillions in SC, GA
Conservationists have warned for decades that giving utilities a blank check for advance nuclear construction costs would produce waste, fraud, and abuse.
Now, two cases in South Carolina and Georgia are demonstrating that more clearly than ever. One is a canceled nuclear plant in South Carolina, and the other is nuclear plant in Georgia that is hanging on in life support only due to massive infusions of taxpayer and ratepayer cash.
It was reported last week that the builders of two incomplete nuclear reactors in South Carolina had wasted millions of dollars on such items as $114 hand-machined nuts, when a sturdier $2 alternative was available. While those costs may have been small change in comparison to the now-cancelled plant’s total wasted $9 billion price tag, they showed the profligate mindset involved in the utility’s approach to using the public’s unlimited “credit card.”
Just a day later, the same paper reported that the “flurry of documents that became public following the cancellation of two unfinished reactors in South Carolina is raising questions for a similar project in Georgia.”
As the story reported, attorneys for the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) were using those reports in posing sharp questioning to power company officials defending the Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia. In that case, the Vogtle plant is still stubbornly under construction despite massive delays and staggering cost overruns—and it’s being propped up only by the combination of nearly blank-check electric ratepayer financing, combined with equally massive federal subsidy guarantees.
It’s long past time for the shrinking defenders of new nuclear power construction to bow to the economic reality that it cannot compete with clean energy sources.