Monday, February 24, 2014

Around Burke County and in Waynesboro

WaynesboroA little early for editorials on the Plant Vogtle loan guarantees. We took a look at Plant Vogtle’s local newspaper, The Waynesboro True Citizen, to see if it had weighed in and found this story:

Burke County residents celebrated the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by giving back to the community. … Rather than taking the day [MLK Day] off, members of Citizens of Georgia Power – Plant Vogtle Chapter, along with their spouses and children, participated in “A Day of Service” by teaming up with the Magnolia Acres Community Empowerment Committee to beautify the grounds in the neighborhood. … “This project wasn’t just about us coming out to do landscaping,” Citizens of Georgia Power member Katrina Bivins said. “We chose this because it gives us an opportunity to mentor these kids while doing the work.”

This is very typical small town newspaper stuff – I wrote a fair amount of it for a different Georgia paper years ago - still, it’s a reminder that Vogtle is a major employer in the area. But it’s more than just a supplier (and supporter) of generous employees.

SECLUDED COUNTRY LIVING- At its finest. Three bedroom, two bath brick home on 5.45 acres. Additional acreage available. Hot tub, large workshop, storage galore. Convenient to Vogtle and new Starbucks plant. $219,000.

Along with Starbucks, Vogtle brings a good deal of economic activity to Burke County - people have to live somewhere. And as you can see, the living is less expensive where Vogtle is – which is true of many nuclear facilities. It’s a property tax bonanza for a town the size of Waynesboro (pop. 5567), and for surrounding Burke County (pop. 23,000 and change), too. Plus, you get a hot tub.

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How about we watch the anti-nuclear crowd suffer a little:

Katherine Fuchs, a critic of federal loan guarantees and the nuclear subsidies campaigner for environmental group Friends of the Earth, said the loan obligates taxpayers to invest in nuclear energy in the event of a default.

“Taxpayers cannot afford to waste money on false solutions like Vogtle,” she said. “Instead, we need to be investing in real solutions like wind, solar and energy efficiency.”

I like that term “false solution” – it has the ring of Soviet self-criticism. “Nuclear energy does most of what we want it to do, but in the name of correct energy thinking, it is a false solution.” Loaded yet meaningless. More:

Critics of the loan guarantees have seized on the program's delays as evidence that it is misguided. Edwin Lyman, a senior scientist in the global security program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, noted that the cost of nuclear energy has climbed over the years to as much as $9 billion per reactor, according to UCS, while the cost of natural gas, solar and wind power is dropping. "Put simply, nuclear power has been priced out of the market," said Lyman in a statement.

Which is why Georgia Power is considering more nuclear reactors, right?

“Given our experience and our commitment to safe, reliable, clean and affordable energy, it should not be a surprise to anybody in the future to see Georgia Power start a process to preserve an option for another set of plants,” [Steve Kuczynski, the company’s chairman, president and CEO] said. “We feel nuclear has a strong role in meeting that objective. Beginning initial groundwork would allow us to preserve that option.”

Schadenfreude aside, pfft!

1 comment:

Engineer-Poet said...

"I like that term “false solution” – it has the ring of Soviet self-criticism. “Nuclear energy does most of what we want it to do, but in the name of correct energy thinking, it is a false solution.” Loaded yet meaningless."

The anti crowd has a heap of those catch-phrases (shibboleths, really) engraved in their language and repeated on cue.  We really need to start hitting back at them, expose just how silly they really are.

Nuclear won the technical war decades ago, but lost the culture war... mostly for failure to fight.  We need to fix that error.