In a May 27 letter obtained by The Associated Press, the [Energy Northwest] consortium asked each of its 25 member public utilities and municipalities to pitch in $25,000 for further research into building one or more small reactors. Those who pay would have first rights to any power produced if a plant is built.
Well, that’s pretty small-d democratic. And Energy Northwest, which had a rough ride with nuclear energy in the 80s – the article goes into all that - is indeed proceeding this time most carefully:
Energy Northwest has spent the past year researching its nuclear options, including a 1,600-megawatt plant that would power more than 1 million homes, before deciding to gauge interest in a small project where 40-megawatt reactors can be added as needed.
Hmm, perhaps too carefully. Although the article doesn’t say it, it looks as though the idea may be to use the smaller plants to backstop their renewable portfolio (the article says wind, solar and biomass, but we think solar is really unlikely in raintown. These are hydro people, with the dams to prove it.)
Read the whole article – there’s a lot of detail in it – but we would note as a final point that the nuclear plant that did come out of the 80s debacle – The Columbia Generating Station – has hummed along quite nicely for the last 25 years. We can’t blame Energy Northwest for walking on tip-toe, because at least they’re walking in the right direction.
The Columbia Generating Station. Not terrible as industrial structures go.