Marilyn A. Brown, professor in the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy, wrote an article “Opinion: A Case for Completing Plant Vogtle” for Atlanta Journal Constitution. The School of Public Policy is a unit in the Georgia Tech Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.
Mega-projects are always risky, and the stakes riding on the new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle couldn’t be higher. With the cancellation of VC Summer’s nuclear construction project in South Carolina on July 31, Georgia’s plant Vogtle is now the only nuclear plant under construction in the U.S. Since about 2007 natural gas prices have plummeted as a result of “fracking.” The cost of wind and solar power has also declined remarkably, and eliminating the wasteful ways we use electricity continues to be a vast and cheap energy resource. So, if the original decision to build two new reactors were made today, Georgians would not be debating two new units at plant Vogtle. But with so much construction already accomplished and with Georgia Power’s $4.5 billion estimated cost-to-complete, the “go” decision now is clear…the project should be finished. It is the least-cost option, and it will add significant reliable baseload generation.