3-17-08 by dugan
There are days when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger seems to just blurt the last cockamamie idea he heard from a powerful pal. So it is with the Gov’s new enthusiasm for nuclear power plants in California. Before he goes further on his new fad, Schwarzenegger needs a trip to Florida, where nuclear efforts lately have been nothing but trouble.
As reported by the Sacramento Bee, Schwarzenegger recently talked with John Bryson, the CEO of Edison International and a fan of nuclear. Then Schwarzenegger took his new enthusiasm to an economic conference last week in Santa Barbara, saying California has to get past "scare tactics" that "frighten everyone that we’re going to have another [nuclear plant] blowup and all of those things."
The governor touted nuclear’s zero carbon emissions. He seemed to have forgotten the state’s abundant and zero-emission wind and solar resources, which come without the astronomical construction costs and ultimate decommissioning costs, and the pesky lack of any long-term storage solution for high-level nuclear waste.
Before his next speech, Schwarzenegger should at check out the planned nuclear facility near Tampa, Florida, which has tripled its projected cost to $17 million before the permits have even been pulled. No problem, from the power company perspective, because a new state law lets the utility start billing customers an extra 4% on their power bills now, even though the new generators wouldn’t produce a watt of power until 2016 (even on the builder’s own rosy projections).
And in Florida, the millions who lost power during a heat wave three weeks ago. One of the state’s existing nuclear plants suddenly went down because of a power outage into the plant.
Oddly, none of the news reports on the problems of both old and new nuclear power in Florida mention the state’s huge solar potential, even though solar is wildly popular among Floridians.
California Edison would no doubt love to build a couple of nuclear plants pre-paid by their ratepayers. But the governor shouldn’t be swallowing Edison’s line.