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Expansion in the Nuclear Industry
Saturday, March 18, 2006

So the recent big news out of rural South Carolina is that Duke Power and the Southern Company, two of the nation's largest utilities, will be building their proposed nuclear power plant on a Cherokee County site (located in the northern portion of the state, near Charlotte). This site was previously approved for a nuclear power plant, but then abandoned in 1983 after it was apparent that the southern United States would not need the excess power that that proposed plant would have produced. This should make the approval process much smoother and quicker as opposed to an altogether new site. This will be about a $5 billion project and will take about a decade to complete the entire process from approval to final construction. This is the second plant announced for the state of South Carolina, with the other one being announced in February by SCE&G (a subsidiary of SCANA) and Santee Cooper (the state utility in South Carolina) at the V.C. Summer plant in Jenkinsville, SC. Both projects appear that they will be a windfall for the companies mentioned due to the recent rumors that the Federal Government will be offering incentives totaling 110% of the total cost incurred by the utilities to complete these plants.

In related news pertinent to this topic, Progress Energy stated in January that it will be adding another reactor to its plant outside of Raleigh, where the company maintains its headquarters. So it now appears that the South will lead the nation in adding new electrical output for growth. However, much more importantly all of this new capacity will be the cheapest electricity in the nation so long as oil and natural gas prices keep their forward momentum. These are the first in what appears to be a movement into cheap energy alternatives, and look for other utilities to move ahead with plans to construct these plants- and in the south where these projects are viewed as an economic plus and not politically opposed.


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