Not Giving Up on Central Valley Nuke

Cooling towers from the defunct Rancho Seco nuclear power plant rise above vineyards near Lodi. Photo: Craig Miller

Cooling towers from the defunct Rancho Seco nuclear power plant rise above vineyards near Lodi. Photo: Craig Miller

According to a report in the Fresno Bee, the notion of building a nuclear power plant near Fresno is still alive, if on life supports. California still has an effective ban on new nuclear plants. That hasn’t stopped some from pushing the plan, as Amy Standen reported for Quest last spring.

And apparently some French investors haven’t given up, either.

Maybe they were inspired by the juxtaposition of vineyards and cooling towers at the site of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s (SMUD) decommissioned Rancho Seco nuclear plant, near Lodi.

Last summer I reported on the prospects for expanded nuclear power as part of California’s low-carbon energy push. Then in November, the advocacy group Environment America issued a report down-playing the potential role of nuclear. The report, bluntly entitled “Generating Failure,” made the claim that: “Even if the nuclear industry somehow managed to build 100 new nuclear reactors by 2030, nuclear power could reduce total U.S. emissions of global warming pollution over the next 20 years by only 12 percent.”

Proponents of nuclear point to its mportance as a steady source of “base load” power, generated 24/7, as opposed to the intermittent or cyclical nature of many renewable sources.

  • Steve Bloom

    Do the French promise the same delays and massive cost over-runs that they recently delivered (actually are still delivering last time I checked) to the Finns?

  • Craig Miller

    Well, I think we should _demand_ the same deal, don’t you?
    Seriously, it’s so tempting (for me, at least) to give nuclear another shot but the IV drip of dismal news from abroad doesn’t offer much encouragement. This kind of news item doesn’t improve public confidence, though perhaps it should, as it seems in this case that things worked the way they’re supposed to:
    http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2010/01/nine_mile_2_nuclear_plant_shut_1.html