According to an article in the AJC (thanks to Gary for the link), some nuclear reactors in the southeast could be forced to shut down later this year due to the drought. While this likely wouldn’t lead to blackouts, it could result in electric bills going up 10 times higher. Ouch!
Some quotes of interest from the article:
- “…Lake Norman near Charlotte is down to 93.7 feet – less than a foot above the minimum set in the license for Duke Energy Corp.’s McGuire nuclear plant. The lake was at 98.2 feet just a year ago…”
- “…[this] could lead to shockingly higher electric bills for millions of Southerners, because the region’s utilities could be forced to buy expensive replacement power from other energy companies…”
- “…Currently, nuclear power costs between $5 to $7 to produce a megawatt hour…It would cost 10 times that amount if you had to buy replacement power – especially during the summer…”
I don’t think that Georgia has any plants in such a dire situation yet, but things could certainly change.
I’d be curious to know what would happen to the cost of power in Atlanta if one or more of the plants in North Carolina had to shut down. I’m sure the price increase would have a ripple effect, but how much?