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  • gopher_catcher gopher_catcher Nov 19, 2012 11:13 AM Flag

    Staying with coal may be the answer

    The current administration firmly stated they will drive the cost of coal produced electricity very high. High enough to damage the producers. It not a just a matter of KWH produced per $ cost of fuel and plant. Southern needs to continue to move to lower CO2 per KWH. The science doesn't matter, if the warming CO2 crowd is wrong they will impose the taxes anyway. If they are right, we need to move to lower CO2 per KWH. The new nuclear plant would reduce the CO2 per KWH in the company mix, but overrun/design change is troublesome. In California at San Onofre they had a bad design on a recently a replaced power generating heat exchanger and the plant is shut down. Maybe the whole generating core and exchanger may need to be replaced or scrapped and abandoned with a huge stranded cost. It had a small radiation leak that didn't escape the site leading to the problem detection. Litigation against the manufacturer is probable, but for years the utility will be out the power and probably will not be able to pass cost of keeping the system safe and intact to customers. This is high stakes stuff and dividend investors aren't supposed to be caught up in this kind of drama. We settle lower average returns for steady results. Southern has been great for long term investors driven a lot by demographic shifts which should continue. It would be really sad to see the company damaged by being on the wrong side of government policy or a massive technical problem. After Fukushima, I'm additionally concerned about the safety of nuclear. I had been a strong proponent of nuclear for decades, but the potential damage probably is just too big a risk. The very, very, very small risk is just too high given the damage it could do to people.

    Sentiment: Hold

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    • I have been an opponent of nuclear power because of the higher base load cost. You can not rapidly shut down a nuke and cost per KWH is higher than most other sources- except for those nuke plants that have been built and then sold for less that cost.
      The best way to stop CO2 emissions is if everybody and every animal stopped breathing. Have you read up on iron fertilization on Wikipedia? A friend studied under John Martin and was involved in the SOFEX experiments. The interesting thing is that after working in the field of CO2 emissions for 20+ years, he does not feel that this is major cause of climate change, IF man is causing it.

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