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Georgia could see surge in nuclear power

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December 12, 2007

Columbia, AL--  At Farley Nuclear Power, just across the Georgia-Alabama line, more than 800 plant workers share a certain way of thinking: a belief in nuclear power. "It is a safe way to produce electricity and there are many of us here who have devoted the majority of our lives to working here and we believe in it," says Cheri Collins, the new Plant Manager at Farley.

She is the first woman to hold the position. She started as an intern, and worked in a variety of capacities. She wants others to see the good nuclear power can do.  "If we do our jobs and help the community understand its safe and efficient I believe we will see it become more and more prevalent," Collins says.

Right now coal is the largest generator of electricity. Nuclear comes in second and is gaining in popularity partly because of 2 reasons.  "With some of the effects of greenhouse gases that come from electricity from coal powered plants. . . nuclear does not produce greenhouse gases," explains Collins. Plus she says the rising cost of coal and cleaning up after it is making the cost of nuclear power more competitive.

A boost in population may also increase the need for nuclear power.  "By 2030 we expect 40% of the U.S. population to live in the South and were working now to prepare for the growing needs," explains Beth Thomas, Corporate Information Coordinator for Southern Company.  

To serve the boost in growth in Georgia, Southern Company is considering adding two additional nuclear units at its Vogtle Nuclear Plant near Waynesboro. "It takes time to plan to generate electricity and we want to make sure we make the right choice for our customers going forward to ensure they have clean, safe, reliable electricity with low environmental impact for the future," Thomas says.   

While they are moving forward to obtain licenses for the two units, the company says it has not made any definite decisions.

This week the Georgia Public Service Commission granted an extension to Georgia Power to provide and estimate on how much those proposed nuclear units at Plant Vogtle would cost.

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