Missmarla’s Weblog

Nuclear Power Coming to Fresno, CA

Posted on: March 28, 2010

Below is a copy of a news article that appeared yesterday. Nuclear power coming to Fresno, CA.

Friends, where do you think all the water will come from, for all of this. Possibly linked to CA’s water shortage scam, headquartered in Fresno?!?


By Bill McEwen / The Fresno Bee

‘Atomic Anne’ pitches nuclear power in Fresno

It hasn’t been the best of times for Anne Lauvergeon, advocate of the nuclear option.

Areva, the international energy company she heads, is behind schedule and over budget on a nuclear reactor in Finland. A South Korean group beat out Areva for a $20 billion contract in the United Arab Emirates. And, just this month, the French prime minister had to step in and save Lauvergeon’s job at the firm, which is 90% owned by France’s government.

But these troubles didn’t stop Lauvergeon from keeping a Fresno appointment to tout nuclear energy last week.

“Atomic Anne” became one of the world’s most powerful women by making tough sales, and now she wants the Holy Grail of nuclear ambition — California.

A decade ago, the idea of a new nuclear power plant in California would’ve been laughed off stage. But the recession, soaring energy costs and efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions have made it safe to debate nuclear energy in polite company again.

A Public Policy Institute of California poll last summer indicated that 46% of adults in the state favor more nuclear plants, with 48% opposed.

In 2001, 59% of Californians believed that no nukes were good nukes. Conclusion: attitudes are changing slowly, but there’s hope for the local cockeyed optimists who want to build two reactors in western Fresno County.

The big obstacle for Lauvergeon and others is California’s 1976 moratorium on new reactors — which is unlikely to end as long as the Democrats control the state Capitol. Lauvergeon’s rose-colored answer: Anything’s possible. Look at what’s happening in Sweden, Italy and elsewhere.

Frightened by the Three Mile Island meltdown, the Swedes voted in 1980 to never build another nuclear plant and to close down the ones they had by the end of this year. Late in 2009, the government there reversed course, deciding to keep 10 plants running and authorizing the purchase of replacement reactors.

Italy — the lone nuclear holdout among major industrialized nations — plans to start building its first one in 2013 and have four completed by 2020. All told, the number of nuclear reactors worldwide is expected to grow from 435 in 31 countries to 568 in 42 countries by 2020.

It was apparent how Lauvergeon has managed to stay atop Areva for 10 years. She’s smart, polished and tough. Nuclear isn’t a panacea, she says, but it is an important part of an energy and global warming solution that includes solar, wind and geothermal. Moreover, she says, today’s third-generation reactors are safer than those built 50 years ago, and advances in fuel recycling are reducing the need for disposal sites.

Judging by the profane signs on trees outside the downtown Exhibit Hall where Lauvergeon spoke, attempts to end Californian’s ban will continue to meet fierce resistance. Despite the new embrace of the technology in Europe, many here believe that relying on nuclear to reduce air pollution is like smoking cigarettes to lose weight.

Meanwhile, China — the world’s second-largest energy consumer — announced Friday that it would complete the construction of 28 nuclear reactors by 2020.

So, is California’s mistrust of nuclear energy well-founded? Or is the rest of the world nuts?

The columnist can be reached at bmcewen@fresnobee.com or (559) 441-6632. His blog is at fresnobeehive.com.

‘Atomic Anne’ pitches nuclear power in Fresno 3/27/10

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