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Drought could force nuclear-plant shutdowns

LAKE NORMAN, N.C. (AP) -- Utility officials say nuclear reactors in the Southeast could be forced to temporarily shut down this year because of the drought. Officials worry about the drought affecting rivers and lakes that supply cooling water nuclear plants need. Utility officials say such shutdowns probably wouldn't lead to blackouts. But they could lead to sharply higher electric bills because the utilities could be forced to buy replacement power elsewhere. Jim Warren is with the North Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network, an environmental group critical of nuclear power. Warren says the situation could become a crisis because of a lack of cooling water. Robert Yanity with South Carolina Electric and Gas Company says if water levels drop too much, reactors would have to be shut down. (Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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