In a recent Instagram video, Benji Backer (@benjibacker), founder of the American Conservation Coalition, visits the Vogtle Nuclear Plant in Georgia. There, the recent construction of two new nuclear generators is set to increase the plant’s energy output to reach the milestone of 1 million homes.
According to Georgia Power, part-owner of Plant Vogtle, the first of the two new reactors, Unit 3, will be activated in early 2023, with Unit 4 to follow soon afterward. These are the first new nuclear generators to be built in the U.S. in 30 years.
In this Instagram video, taken during Backer’s tour of Plant Vogtle, an active reactor is visible in the background. Backer explains that this one generator is responsible for supplying clean electricity to 250,000 homes.
“Our climate change solutions can reduce emissions while supplying people with safe, reliable energy,” he adds in a caption.
Nuclear energy has been a controversial topic in America. Supporters like Backer point out that it’s the most reliable source of electricity we have as we transition to more affordable, less polluting energy technology.
“Nuclear energy is currently the only carbon-free source that can generate electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Backer says in his opinion piece on Plant Vogtle. Other affordable alternatives like wind and solar can only operate when there is strong enough wind or when the sun is up, limiting their output.
Opponents of nuclear energy cite safety concerns, often referring to disasters such as the Chernobyl accident of 1986. Radioactive nuclear waste is also a major downside, as it has previously been impossible to reuse or destroy.
However, nuclear plants have made dramatic safety improvements in the past three decades. New energy technology is being developed that will use and recycle nuclear waste.
In another Instagram post from the tour, Backer praises Plant Vogtle’s owners for their contributions: “Incredible and historic work from Southern Company and Georgia Power. Thanks for being the national leader in nuclear technology and powering a carbon-free future.”