CPUC Prez Says Fresno Nuke “Nonstarter”

By Published On: February 16, 2007

With Fresno Nuclear LLC hosting a public forum February 22 to discuss the feasibility of building a new nuclear plant in that Central Valley city, the president of the California Public Utilities Commission said the project is a “nonstarter.” Mike Peevey added, “That’s not to say there’s not a role for nuclear power given where we are in terms of climate change.” Pacific Gas & Electric vice-president of energy procurement Fong Wan told the press February 15 that PG&E Corp.’s interest in investing in new out-of-state nuclear power plants is a decade away. Wan said the “near-term goal is increasing renewables and decreasing greenhouse gases.” While new nuclear plants appear off the table because of the current state law forbidding construction until there is a permanent solution to high-level radioactive waste disposal, Peevey stressed that any decision on nuclear plants is too far in the future to consider – particularly for extending the licenses of the state’s operating power plants. PG&E’s Diablo Canyon’s and Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s licenses expire in the 2020s. They could be given an extension by federal regulators. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has extended the operating licenses of 48 units as of this year. Neither utility will commit to proposing a license extension. Both utilities, however, are in the midst of refurbishing their nuclear plants with new steam generators at a cost of about $1.5 billion (Circuit, Dec. 16, 2005). – J.A. Savage

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