The controversy over the fiasco at the V.C. Summer Nuclear plant in Jenkinsville and other nuclear plants in regard to taxpayers of the state for the most part has ignored key elements.

The legislation in question regarding construction of new energy plants went into effect before the Pelosi revolution's first major energy legislation in mid-2007 that targeted inefficient appliances, imposed a light bulb ban and promoted alternative energy sources. Follow that by the election of President Barack Obama with an administration that vowed to take down energy sources not fitting within their mantra of wind and solar by raising the cost of electricity in an attempt to promote his chosen sources of wind and solar. Many coal companies went bankrupt.

Nuclear energy was also targeted by the Obama administration during the eight-year nightmare. According to a report from Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission under the Obama administration increasingly slowed down the regulatory paperwork to construct nuclear plants (including V.C. Summer). Environmentalist organizations also supported the attempt to take nuclear power out of existence.

This repeated action by federal authorities to interrupt all nuclear production, and the shale boom that led to the lowering of natural gas prices, produced an increasing conflict. The cost of natural gas was lower for the time being, with no discussion regarding its future, making natural gas favored for now. But with the cyclical nature of natural gas, the cost could be far greater in the future.

When the increasing regulatory burdens on nuclear were made by officials, environmentalist groups such as the Sierra Club and Greenpeace helped block other nuclear plants as part of the wind and solar mantra the global left pushed. By the time the anti-nuclear groups had slowed down nuclear plant construction, Westinghouse filed bankruptcy, which has legal implications. Westinghouse, Santee Cooper and Scana Corp. had their three-way contract for the V.C. Summer plant legally terminated by the Westinghouse receivership.

The two state utility companies were holding the bag when the anti-nuclear organizations successfully took down nuclear the way coal was taken down by the same environmentalist organizations. With the liability of the nuclear regulators and fringe environmental organizations, along with the surprise lower cost of natural gas, the current state of affairs made the nuclear plant an unfortunate liability.

As much as the citizens of the state are on the hook for this failure, the responsibility relies with the policies of the Obama administration's Nuclear Regulatory Commission and environmentalist organizations that helped drive down nuclear as part of a solid wind and solar energy mantra. Why is there no discussion of how an unfavorable regulatory environment of the previous administration helped bring down the entire V.C. Summer plant? These regulators helped create the atmosphere -- one that did not exist when the plant plans began.

Hou-Yin Chang is from Orangeburg. By way of disclaimer, he states that he is a shareholder in Scana Corp. and holds bonds with Santee Cooper.


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