There are a number of states in the US that have laws in place that are viewed as virtual moratoriums on the development of nuclear power plants. Most of the laws have a similar set of provisions that requires a federally approved “solution” to long term storage of used fuel.
Assemblyman Chuck DeVore R-Irvine California, recently introduced legislation to remove California’s current restrictions, but the legislation died in the Natural Resources Committee in mid April before it could be brought to the floor. DeVore intends to reintroduce his bill next year with additional provisions that favor the development of nuclear power and nuclear fuel recycle. Here is a quote from an April 19, 2007 article on dailypilot.com titled THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE:Assembly opts out of nuclear idea that shows what drives DeVore to work against the current powers that be in California.
Nuclear power will be essential if the state wants to meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gases, DeVore said. Besides, legislators haven’t left themselves many options — last year they voted not to renew contracts with electric suppliers that use coal-generated power, and the state lands commission recently rejected a proposed offshore liquefied natural gas terminal.
“Unfortunately, you can’t power an electrical grid on good intentions,” DeVore said. “I don’t see how you get there from here.”
I hope he is successful; we all need the lights and servers to stay on in Silicon Valley.
Wisconsin is another state with restrictions that tie the possibility of building new nuclear power plants to a federal solution to used fuel storage, but Wisconsin’s laws also specifically require that the proposed nuclear power plant has costs that are competitive with a coal fired power plant. I suspect that provision was favored by the state’s long established mining industry.
According to a 10 May 2007 article on BusinessNorth.com titled Committee okays lifting of nuclear power plant construction restrictions in Wisconsin there is a serious discussion underway. The article quotes the obligatory antinuclear activist position, but it also has some important comments like this one:
Greenhouse gas emissions from coal and oil fired power plants have people like liberal Democratic Representative Frank Boyle of Superior switching sides in favor of nuclear power. “If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be here advocating for the lifting of the ban on nuclear construction, I’d say you were crazy.” Boyle says the danger of climate change has future generations facing catastrophe. “The time has some for nuclear proliferation in terms of energy plants versus continuing to fire up those generators with coal and gas and oil and produce a climatic effect of carbon loading the upper atmosphere that could ultimately kill us and destroy the earth.”
Good luck Wisconsin, we are rooting for you to apply some of that good Midwestern sense to this debate.