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It would mark the definitive death of the dream of “too cheap to meter” radioactive energy, and end an era marked by massive cost overruns, soaring operating and maintenance expenses, a string of bankruptcies, two major meltdowns, an unsolved radioactive waste burden. Currently, 99 nuclear plants now operate in the United States.

Five have shut in the last several years, with dozens more poised to follow, primarily due to their inability to compete with cheap gas, solar, and wind power.

Westinghouse pioneered and built the Pressurized Water Reactors that count for about half the world’s fleet.

The AP 1000 was meant to provide a safer, more economical upgrade.

Grassroots nuclear campaigners are under serious attack.An angry grassroots movement has kept shut all 54 reactors that once operated in Japan. Big industrial windmills installed off the Fukushima coast are now thriving.Ohio’s Davis-Besse, New York’s Ginna, five reactors in Illinois and other decrepit American nukes could shut soon without huge ratepayer bailouts.The news about the South Carolina plants is just the latest in a series of death shudders from the nuclear power industry. reactors, Fermi I near Detroit and Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, have also melted, along with the catastrophic 1986 explosion at Chernobyl.Reactors under construction at Olkiluoto, Finland, and Flamanville, France, are also massively over budget and teetering on the brink of collapse. More than forty reactors remain shut in Japan in the wake of the 2011 multiple meltdowns and explosions at Fukushima. In Georgia, America’s two remaining nukes under construction at the Vogtle site are on the precipice.

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