Monday, August 17, 2009

Duke's hoping for nuclear power plant in Gaffney, S.C.

Posted By on Mon, Aug 17, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Does nuclear power have a place in the United States' energy mix? If yes, why? If no, why? Where's your evidence? (Fork over the links.)

How comfortable are you with having a third nuclear power plant so close to Charlotte? (Reminder: We already have one on Lake Norman and one on Lake Wylie.)

What should happen with the nuclear waste the plant generates?

How do you feel about your electricity and tax rates going up to fund nuclear power?

Thirty years after it last broke ground on a nuclear power plant, Duke Energy has a site picked out for a new one, 50 miles southwest of Charlotte near Gaffney, S.C.

It also has a name, William States Lee III, to honor a late CEO, and federal support for a nuclear revival.

What Duke might lack is a convincing argument that the plant would be worth risking billions of dollars. Construction costs are soaring and Wall Street investors are nervous. Demand for electricity is flattening, calls for renewable energy growing.

Duke's 2.4 million Carolinas customers will pay, through higher rates, for what the company builds. Duke serves the western half of North Carolina and northwestern South Carolina.

The Obama administration sees nuclear as a clean alternative to coal, which releases carbon dioxide. Duke is the nation's third-largest utility in releases of the greenhouse gas, at about 100 million tons a year.

Duke was not among four companies chosen to share $18.5 billion in federal loan guarantees for new plants, but the nuclear industry hopes Congress will add money.

More from

Obama's take on nuclear power:

Here's an industry video about how nuclear power is generated:

Here's an industry video about nuclear waste management from Canada:

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