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Saturday, October 30, 2010

U.S. Nuclear Renaissance Stalling?

The Center supports nuclear power and was the first environmental group in the USA to publicly and aggressively support the technology. The Center remains the ONLY environmental group in the USA that legitimately supports the technology. Yet, individual neopronuclear green converts do not acknowledge the Center's groundbreaking nuclear work and the nuclear industry prefers to promote their Clean and Safe Energy (CASE) Coalition. Fine.  But now the best solution for mitigating global warming is at risk and it should be 'all hands on deck.'  The price of new reactors has stalled the renaissance.  Our colleagues in the environmental movement lost on the environmental merits of nuclear power and are left to celebrate the cost hurdle instead.

The Constellation Energy Group 3rd nuclear nuclear debacle clearly does not help our case.  That was ugly.  Brutal.  As nasty a divorce as we have observed in any sector.  Electricite de France (EdF) is now left to put together the pieces from that prenup to try to get  new reactors built in the USA.  The Center stands ready to assist them in any way we can to accomplish this mission, both in the USA and abroad.  In the USA, our take is that it might be easier to build with a new partner in New York or Mississippi than to build in Maryland.  Our assessment is that the divorce probably did not leave a good taste in the mouth of either partner for Maryland.  And this distresses us because our president lives in Maryland and presented statements before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in support of Calvert Cliffs 3. 

We hope that EdF will find a partner in Exelon an/or Entergy because both are very good companies and have excellent records in operating nuclear power plants. We mentioned Mississippi because we believe Port Gibson, Mississippi would be an excellent site for EdF to build its EPR.   In addition to Constellation-owned units of Ginna and Nine Mile Point in New York, Entergy also has the nearby James Fitzpatrick Reactor that could use another unit or two at that site.  Ideally 3 more units could be added to those 3 sites.

Sigh. We have been at this for 10 years and the future is not looking very good for new nuclear power plants.  And to be honest, we are more than a little concerned about the current aging fleet of reactors.  And so is the nuclear industry.  That is why they presented statements at the recent Gulf oil spill hearings. The Center will continue with its aggressive and enthusiastic support for building new nuclear power plants. (The Baltimore Sun, 10/30/2010)

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