If you want to put up a power plant next to a population with little ability to protest, then Georgia Power’s plans to build a nuclear — or natural gas — power plant in Stewart County is perfect.
Stewart Detention Center, a privately run facility that warehouses people detained by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), is slated to be next door neighbors with Georgia Power’s newest facility.
Georgia Power owns about 7,000 acres of land in Stewart County, off the Chattahoochee River. While everything is still in the planning stages, a new nuclear power plant, in particular, needs to be viewed skeptically, as it comes with very long term consequences to the environment and people.
Shell Bluff, Ga. has been fighting against the radioactive contaminants from the nearby Plant Vogtle in their community for decades, as Georgia Power goes over budget, adding two new nuclear reactors to that site.
“Georgia Power is currently years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget on a project to build two new nuclear power units at its existing Vogtle nuclear plant near Augusta,” the AJC reports.
Filings with the Georgia Public Service Commission state that Georgia Power “is exploring sites suitable for new nuclear generation” and “has identified a site in Stewart County, Georgia that is suitable for further study and evaluation.”
Stewart Detention Center, near Columbus, Ga. and Fort Benning, has been the site of much conflict, as detainees have decried the poor conditions inside the facility. Currently, a man is holding a hunger strike against his indefinite detention, merely wanting the facility to follow their own rules and either deport or release him.
While Georgia Power has insisted it’s just exploring the option of a new nuclear power plant, and nothing has been decided, environmental groups have already begun to express their concern.
Mark Woodall of the Sierra Club, told the Ledger-Enquirer:
“Everybody’s shocked that anyone would go forward with another nuke,” said Mark Woodall of the Sierra Club, which is opposed to adding any more nuclear-power to the system.
Nuclear power is “not safe or affordable,” said Woodall, adding that the uranium used for fuel must be mined, and “uranium mining is a mess.”
“Solar’s here. It’s cheap. It’s a lot of jobs,” he said.
Those detained at Stewart Detention Center will have no ability to advocate against, or move away from, the environmental toxins that power plants — especially nuclear power plants — bring to communities. Privately run detention and prison facilities in Georgia are already failing to provide basic healthcare, and people are needlessly dying. What will happen to the folks at Stewart Detention Center if a nuclear power plant goes up right next door?