Skip to main content

Way Out West with Nuclear Energy


Make no bones about it:

"Let there be no doubt. Let there be no mistake. Let there be no mischaracterization: I'm a strong advocate for the development of more nuclear energy in Arizona," [Gov. Jan] Brewer told the conference of elected officials and business leaders at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa. "Nuclear power is at the cornerstone of our clean-energy future."

That's about as definitive as it gets. And why is Gov. Brewer convinced nuclear is the way to go?

But Brewer stressed its value as a consistent energy source with stable costs and no greenhouse-gas emissions. There are about 3,000 employees at Palo Verde.

Her enthusiasm was duly noted.

"She was passionate about it. She was almost strident. I said, 'Wow,' " said Martin Shultz, vice president of intergovernmental affairs for Pinnacle West Capital Corp., parent of Arizona Public Service, which operates Palo Verde.


Now, let's point out that Brewer also supports renewables and the article notes her success with tax credits encouraging solar panel production - solar energy seems a natural for Arizona, after all.

Even more promising in terms of job production are renewable energies, for which Brewer believes the state is well-suited with its wealth of sunshine, available workforce and corporate-tax incentives.
Taken together, all we can say about Gov. Brewer's energy outlook is, um, Wow!

---

We looked around for editorial response in the state and found this in The Yuma Sun:

Still, nuclear power can be a safe and efficient way to generate power. The advantages it brings mean it needs to be at the top of the list when considering alternatives to our current reliance on fossil fuels. The governor is right to be enthusiastic about nuclear power.
Still early, but so far, Gov. Brewer seems to be on to something.

---

We mentioned the other day that AREVA has pacted with Fresno Nuclear Energy Group to develop  a plant in California, despite the state's standing ban on new construction. That means, for starters, that there is a certainty on the part of business that the ban will fall.

Although California has had a moratorium on the construction of nuclear reactors for about 30 years, Hutson said the state’s political atmosphere probably will be right for ending the moratorium by the time the Nuclear Regulatory Commission grants a license to build the facility.
Hutson is John Hutson, president of Fresno Nuclear Energy Group.

We'll explore this development in more detail in future posts. For further reading, see here, here, and here.

---

We were struck by the economic straits Fresno finds itself in:

Right now, some counties in the Fresno area have unemployment above 40 percent, and the region has more food stamp recipients than any other region in the nation, he said.
A nuclear plant would bring thousands of jobs to the region during construction and create 300 permanent, high-paying jobs, [Hutson] said. Also, it would help power desalination facilities, giving the region’s farms more usable water, and provide electricity needed for other companies to move to the region, he said.

We like Hutson's view and do think this effort will do nothing but help the area, but it is clearly in deeper distress than any one company can hope to solve. We didn't get any indication that the state is midwifing this effort, but we certainly hope it is in other areas if not specifically in the energy sphere.
We poked around to see what was happening but didn't run into much that was productive - the state  has notably messy politics and huge budget problems. We did get a better view of what is expected for the Fresno area:
[F]or the Central Valley, especially north of the Fresno area, the grind will continue for months yet to come, fueled by the shutdown of the Toyota assembly plant in Newark, the smoldering foreclosure residue of the mortgage meltdown and the never-ending state budget mess, says a report that was scheduled for release Wednesday from researchers at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.
Many more efforts like those of AREVA and the Fresno Nuclear Energy Group couldn't come soon enough.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. We didn't do an in-depth hunt, but we couldn't find a single picture with her frowning or looking anything but cheerful.

Comments

Anonymous said…
If California stops shooting themselves in the feet, who will the other 49 states make fun of? But let's hope the moratorium falls, for the Californians' sake.
California already imports nuclear electricity from Arizona. Its time for California to end the hypocrisy and start creating more jobs and revenue by building more clean nuclear power plants!
DocForesight said…
The kids under the dome in Sacramento may not come to any agreement on budget priorities, but the Central Valley can be restored to its former productive self with additional secure sources of water.

Radical environmentalists may have over-played their scare tactics hand about nuclear power and the public may just surprise us. With the Pacific Ocean on our coastline, we have plentiful water to desalinate, with the additional benefit of electrical power.

Will Californians put up with high unemployment, high cost of produce, produce imported from other countries and no surface water storage capacity built (with water rationing to accompany that) or will they overturn the ban and allow nuclear desal/electricity plants?
Anonymous said…
Let it be said that Jared Diamond is right, civilizations really do choose their own demise, as we are now witnessing before our very eyes...

http://www.sustainablenuclear.org/PADs/pad0509till.html
Anonymous said…
No way, nuclear power plants are the last thing that California needs... We don't need nuclear disasters built on fault lines or potential Suomi hit coast lines like Japan, and nuclear might be clean at the start but we still cant get rid of the wast we have... Solar, Wind and Ocean Power is the only way to go for the future of California's power needs... We need less Nuclear not More !!!!

Popular posts from this blog

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…