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Unfinished, Abandoned Nuclear Plant Cost $3 Billion

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Unfinished, Abandoned Nuclear Plant Cost $3 Billion

Less than an hour north of Louisville and a stone’s throw from the Ohio River sprawls the skeleton of a $2.8 billion nuclear dream.

Before continuing, please picture $2.8 billion. That’s 50,000 fully-loaded Cadillacs. Or seven million iPads. Or roughly 10% of Indiana’s entire yearly budget for 2018. $2.8 billion would pay the average electric and natural gas bill for one million Hoosiers…for an entire year.

Coupled with that startling statistic is the original purpose of the decayed structure in Jefferson County: it was supposed to be Indiana’s first nuclear power plant, the Marble Hill Nuclear Power Plant (blandly named after a nearby hill from which miners once gathered marble).

In 1973, engineers and architects worked with Indiana power concerns and earmarked a thousand acres along the Ohio River for a $700 million investment: two pressurized water reactors that would produce 2,360 megawatts of power for Indiana and Kentucky. In 1973, the public still considered nuclear power a relatively safe alternative to fossil fuels.

At that point in US history, the few nuclear accidents in the United States had been relatively small (the Sodium Reactor Experiment meltdown in 1959, the SL-1 reactor explosion in 1961 and 1966’s breeder reactor meltdown in Michigan). Fatalities had been minimal and the cost, marginal.

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from Less than an hour north of Louisville and a stone’s throw from the Ohio River sprawls the skeleton of a $2.8 billion nuclear dream.

Before continuing, please picture $2.8 billion. That’s 50,000 fully-loaded Cadillacs. Or seven million iPads. Or roughly 10% of Indiana’s entire yearly budget for 2018. $2.8 billion would pay the average electric and natural gas bill for one million Hoosiers…for an entire year.

Coupled with that startling statistic is the original purpose of the decayed structure in Jefferson County: it was supposed to be Indiana’s first nuclear power plant, the Marble Hill Nuclear Power Plant (blandly named after a nearby hill from which miners once gathered marble).

In 1973, engineers and architects worked with Indiana power concerns and earmarked a thousand acres along the Ohio River for a $700 million investment: two pressurized water reactors that would produce 2,360 megawatts of power for Indiana and Kentucky. In 1973, the public still considered nuclear power a relatively safe alternative to fossil fuels.

At that point in US history, the few nuclear accidents in the United States had been relatively small (the Sodium Reactor Experiment meltdown in 1959, the SL-1 reactor explosion in 1961 and 1966’s breeder reactor meltdown in Michigan). Fatalities had been minimal and the cost, marginal.

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