By RAY HENRYAssociated Press
ATLANTA (AP) - If Georgia was starting from scratch, it would not build a nuclear power plant.
That conclusion from a state financial analyst illustrates how an anticipated boom in nuclear power turned into a bust as natural gas prices fell.
An analyst working for state regulators, Philip Hayet, said in written testimony that the total costs of building two more nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle (VOH'-gohl) is more expensive than the next-best option, constructing natural gas plants.
Still, Hayet said it is cheaper in most scenarios to finish the nuclear plant rather than halt the project and instead build natural gas plants.
Hayet's calculations have not been publicly released since they involve proprietary financial information from Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power. The cost of natural gas has plummeted since the project started.
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