Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,I—Pulaski) said today he was encouraged to hear news that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the license for two new nuclear reactors in Georgia.
The federal government has not approved a new nuclear reactor license since 1978, a year before the meltdown at Three Mile Island. Some plants were more recently in the works but the disaster in Fukushima, Japan brought on new public safety concerns about reactors in the United States and many were put on hold. Since then, the NRC has worked with 104 commercial nuclear reactors in the country, to improve safety and stabilize reactor sites, according to media reports. The NRC is considering more applicants as a result of these changes and the increasing energy demands.
"I'm pleased to learn this news today. This license approval in Georgia paves the way for previously considered nuclear reactors in Oswego County. Another nuclear plant in this region would create more jobs and reduce the cost of energy for ratepayers in our entire region," said Barclay. "I've said before that our region could become the energy capital of the nation, similar to Detroit and the auto industry. We're already set up with a skilled workforce, and we house two of the four nuclear energy plants in the state. With reduced energy costs, we can compete more aggressively for businesses and manufacturers who have long complained that New York's energy rates are too high."
Barclay said this NRC license decision news comes on the heels of the unfortunate statements made last week by the State Assembly Energy and Corporation chairs. Last week, the chairs said closing Indian Point would leave little impact on ratepayers and reliability. Barclay said he disagrees with this conclusion and finds it contrary to testimony given at a recent hearing he attended in New York City. Without a viable replacement, shutting Indian Point down would increase rates and take more energy off the grid, as well as take valuable jobs away from our state. Barclay said we need to update our energy grid, so that transmission can improve and Oswego County can be a provider to the rest of the state, preferably to importing energy from places like Canada, which the Governor has recently mentioned.