My Google news alert yesterday pointed me to a story that surprised me. The link description indicated that it was from the St. Petersburg Times and gave a headline telling me that there was some opposition to a nuclear plant expansion. I subscribed to the St. Petersburg Times when I lived on the Florida west coast, and I know that Progress Energy has plans to build new nuclear plant capacity in Levy County, which is within the readership territory of the St. Pete Times. I thus clicked on the link expecting to read about a dispute in progress among some of my old neighbors.
Instead, I found that I was reading an article from the other St. Petersburg Times.
According to a November 5, 2008 article titled Ecologists Slam Nuclear Power Plant, Russian nuclear power plant developers can experience opposition to their plans from a source that would be very familiar in Western countries. There is an interesting new argument being used against the plants, however; Bellona is asserting that cooling tower vapors can spread microorganisms beyond territorial borders. The extra-national nature of the complaint is important – Bellona is trying to establish legal “standing” for international intervenors into the licensing and permitting process. That would provide increased opportunity for delaying tactics designed to increase the cost and difficulty of developing new nuclear power plants, either wittingly or unwittingly protecting the markets for other kinds of energy systems.