(DailyVantage.com) – The latest nuclear reactor constructed in the United States began operating in Georgia, marking the first nuclear reactor built from scratch within the United States in decades. The reactor is known as Unit 3 and is southeast of Augusta.
The reactor will provide enough energy to power over 500,000 homes in the region and various businesses. While the reactor marks the first time a nuclear project has been completed in decades, it came at an extreme cost and is years behind schedule. Unit 3 costs $17 billion more than the initial budget and is seven years behind schedule. Unit 3 isn’t the only reactor involved in the project, as a fourth reactor will begin operation in March 2024. While the reactors mark a milestone for the push against climate change, the extreme costs and lengthy construction raise concerns about the nation’s ability to switch electrical sources. Some experts even testified that the extreme costs have outweighed any short-term benefits of switching to nuclear power.
Construction on Unit 3 and the upcoming fourth reactor began in 2009 and was initially estimated to cost around $14 billion upon completion. The project was supposed to conclude by 2016 and begin producing electricity for Augusta and the surrounding region. Instead, the project faced numerous issues that delayed construction, including the pandemic that stalled infrastructure work across the country. Upon completion, the project will cost an astounding $31 billion, which taxpayers will help pay off in the coming years. Despite this, Georgia officials are confident that the two reactors will have far-reaching benefits in the coming years.
Georgia’s reactor will help reduce the state’s carbon emissions, marking an improvement concerning climate change, a concern for many American citizens. While the reactor is a milestone for Georgia and the United States, President Joe Biden hasn’t commented on the operational reactor or its impact on carbon emissions. Biden has famously campaigned against the dangers of climate change, including his push for the nation to switch to electric vehicles by 2030, and his decision to remain silent about Unit 3 has many confused.
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