I was pleased to read that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has recently approved the construction of two new power-generating nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro, Georgia. It is hard for me to believe that these are the first new reactors approved by the government since 1978. That has been quite a dry spell for nuclear energy in this country, and I think it’s great that our nation is finally moving forward again with the construction of new nuclear power plants, with I assume more to follow.
Despite the ongoing challenge of figuring out a long-term solution for the disposal of spent fuel rods and other nuclear waste, the advantages of nuclear power are many. Nuclear energy does not generate greenhouse gases and our nation is energy independent when it comes to the nuclear fuel source. In addition, today’s reactors are safer than ever.
If there is a downside to this plan, it is that the technology is very expensive and utilities that wish to employ nuclear power generation will require large government loan guarantees to finance their construction. My understanding is that the Southern Company utility will receive $8.3 billion in conditional loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy to build the new reactor plants, which are expected to cost a total of about $14 billion. Ultimately, the utility’s customers will be required to pay off the debt.
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I was also pleased to learn that the Pentagon is going to move forward with a plan to relax some of the rules on women in combat. I personally believe that women have proven themselves to be up to the task of performing at the highest levels in our armed forces, and I see no reason to restrict them from combat duties. I’m curious what you think about these changes.
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If you’ve been following the news, you probably know that applications for unemployment continue to fall — they are now at their lowest rate since April 2008. It is also expected that the unemployment rate will continue to fall in coming months.
While this bodes well for the continued improvement of our economy, it will weaken any Republican challenger’s position in the coming election. If people see their personal finances improving next November, then they are going to be less likely to want to take a chance with a new administration.