EDITORIAL: Not right time for nuclear power in Victoria [Victoria Advocate, Texas]Victoria Advocate, TexasMcClatchy-Tribune Information Services
Sept. 01--Exelon will not build in Victoria. After five years of working to secure a site for a nuclear power plant and starting the long, technical and expensive permitting process, the company decided now is not the time.
We are disappointed to see them go. Exelon has made a point to be good, courteous neighbors to the Victoria community. And when they announced their plans to leave, it was no different. It would have been easier to send out a generic "we regret to inform you" press release and quietly vanish from the community, but Exelon took a different route. Instead, representatives from the company came to Victoria to meet with various community leaders and organizations, including the Victoria Advocate, to calmly explain why they chose to halt plans for a nuclear power plant in Victoria. And in doing so, they paid a compliment to Victoria, as well.
Craig Nesbit, Exelon's vice president of generation communications, said while Exelon may not be building a plant, the company is not planning to totally abandon any possibilities in Victoria. In a meeting with Advocate editors, Nesbit said Victoria is one of the most welcoming, friendly environments the company has ever seen. Even opponents of the plant were some of the nicest people he's met. "We absolutely love Victoria," he said. Nesbit went on to compliment Victoria leadership, and in particular, the Victoria Economic Development Corporation, for their handling of the entire process.
Victoria's hospitable nature is one of the reasons Exelon was so careful to make their announcement personally. One day, when the market is more favorable, the company hopes to try again, Nesbit said. Until then, the company plans to stay in touch with the community.
In the end, it all came down to economics. In the current economy, with the wide availability of natural gas power from the shale drilling activity, electricity rates are too low for the company to make a return to match the expenses associated with building a nuclear power plant. Even when just getting a permit is years away, not to mention actually building and staffing the plant, market researchers predict the low rates of natural gas will be a long-term trend, making it unfeasible to build a plant in this area now.
"We're really disappointed that we couldn't pull this off, but it's just not in the cards," Nesbit said.
We are disappointed to hear this decision from Exelon, but we are proud to know they thought so highly of Victoria and its residents. We thank Victorians for showing themselves to be such kind, considerate people, and we look forward to keeping contact with Exelon for any future possibilities in the area. Now may have not been the right time, but we look forward to seeing Exelon invest in our community one day in the future.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.
(c)2012 Victoria Advocate (Victoria, Texas)
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