Why should ratepayers ante up to build nuclear reactors before they are built, especially before appropriate efforts have been made toward conservation? (And, moreover, when construction costs are vastly underestimated.) If conservation can be sufficient, maybe the plant won’t even be needed.

As reported by TheSunNews.com here,

An environmental group challenging two proposed nuclear reactors asked South Carolina’s highest court Thursday to review state regulators’ approval of electricity rate increases to help pay for future plants.

Columbia-based S.C. Electric & Gas Co. won approval last year to raise its rates 2.5 percent a year for 10 years to help pay for two new nuclear units

The companies are planning to build two 1,100-megawatt generators at a total cost of $10 billion.

This rate increase is huge. Friends of the Earth is bringing the challenge, which involves the fact that the plant was approved prior to development of an energy efficiency and conservation study.

As I’ve noted previously here, construction bids in Canada for a similar two-reactor facility came in at $25 billion, indicating clearly how wildly low the projected $10 billion is for the SC plants.

People involved in approving this plant should be held to account, swearing that they are certain of the cost projections, for example. Instead, they hired a consultant to do the evaluations. As reported in the article, South Carolina

Office of Regulatory Staff attorney Florence Belser told justices that her agency hired an outside consultant to review SCE&G’s application and plans. She said the standard of review for this case was the same as in all rate cases.

Let’s see that review.


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