Georgia’s Future Is Nuclear Energy

The current population of Georgia is approximately 3.90 million people. In December 2018, state utilities used natural gas (36.1%), nuclear energy (29.7%) coal (25.2%) and renewable energy (9.0%) to generate electricity. Hydropower and solar energy are the primary sources of renewable energy in Georgia.

The Georgia legislator has never created a state renewable standard, mandating utilities to use renewable energy. There are no state solar photovoltaic (PV) panel tax credits or net-metering law to let solar homes sell excess energy back to the grid. The mission of the Georgia Public Service Commission is to exercise its authority and influence to ensure that consumers receive safe, reliable and reasonably priced telecommunications, electric and natural gas services from financially viable and technically competent companies.

Georgia doesn’t have the wind resources of the Great Plains states or the hydropower potential of the Pacific Northwest. It is unlikely, that state utilities could meet current power requirements solely with renewable energy. However, Georgia is moving forward with an energy program that will have zero greenhouse gas emissions.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved two nuclear plants, Vogtle Unit 3 and Unit 4 which will commence operation in 2021 and 2022, respectively. These are the first nuclear power plants approved by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in thirty years.

The new AP 1000 nuclear reactors include safety features intended to function automatically and even with the loss of on-site power. The passive design features permit the core, containment, and spent fuel pool to be cooled for three days without operator action. Cooling can be continued for up to seven days with only minimal operator action. These features would provide enhanced safety margins and would permit the nuclear power plant to withstand an extended station blackout, such as that at Fukushima.

Nuclear power emits zero greenhouse gases and can provide major source of electrical power to a region. The negatives of nuclear power are nuclear waste disposal, capital cost and memories of nuclear disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima. Unabated emission of carbon dioxide creates air pollution and will negatively impact the earth’s climate. Fossil fuels are not renewable, and the world will eventually run out of economically viable coal, oil and natural gas. In my opinion, nuclear energy should be a component in America’s energy mix.

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