This comes after the NRC approved a new reactor design for the Vogtle plant in December, meaning, for first time in 30 years, Georgia has been recognized as a nuclear development entity, according to the Associated Press.
The AP also stated that the purchase of the additional units will cost $14 billion, and could be up and operating as soon as 2016. Atlanta based Southern Company’s request for the new units mean Georgia could become an economic development hub, and those benefits could trickle down towards Calhoun.
The City of Calhoun has Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG) shares in plant Vogtle’s existing units one and two that amount to 15 megawatts, according to Calhoun City Council Member David Hammond.
When the other two units are built, Calhoun will have an additional 25 MW invested, according to Calhoun Director of Utilities Larry Vickery.
“We will sell 15 MW to other utilities for a period of 20 years,” said Vickery. “This means Calhoun has retained 10 MW to come online, half in 2016 and the rest in 2017; our long term forecast indicates this is what we will need at that time.”
Power suppliers or wholesalers can purchase the remaining percentage over that time period.
However, Calhoun will be left with a percentage of the units.
“After the 20-year sale to others expires, we will retain that portion of generation which also meets the long term forecast criteria,” explained Vickery. “The initial operating license for each unit is approximately 42 years.”
In the coming years, these recent developments could prove pivotal for the city when it comes to creating new jobs and for attracting new industry.
“What this means for our community is that these resources should prove very attractive for economic development, our citizens and consumers in stabilizing future power costs and exposure to environmental costs from coal related carbon emissions costs,” said Vickery.
Hammond elaborated on what the nuclear reactors mean to the community in Monday night’s city council meeting.
“With the possibilities of industries looking for places to go to build plants, if you’ve got nuclear power as part of your umbrella of electric options, if carbon tax and government surcharge comes in line to make it more expensive, industries will be looking to move into communities that have electrical power at a surplus and have a mixture of it,” said Hammond. “To me it’s an indicator that we are in a good place here in Calhoun, Ga., for jobs that are coming.”