Edison Seeks Nuke Permit

By Published On: October 19, 2007

Southern California Edison’s plans to seek an early site permit for a new nuclear power plant, according to Jacqueline Jones, Edison customer specialist, in testimony to the California Energy Commission October 16. “Nuclear is a long-term option,” she said. The commission maintains that nuclear power is not expected to contribute to the state’s goal of curbing global warming. The commissioners asked Jones to address their increasing dissatisfaction with the utility’s procurement plans, which commissioner John Geesman considers a “reliability pickle.” The state, through the commission’s Integrated Energy Policy Report–which is supposed to establish energy policy–tends to embrace distributed generation. That is, smaller power supplies, including solar photovoltaic panels on rooftops, which add electric supplies to the grid. Those distributed supplies are in addition to big fossil and nuclear plants and usually are built by non-utility developers. Jones, however, said that the utility is not inclined to install distribution generation units to help out with its ever-tightening supply problems. Her data show that 5 percent of distribution generation projects meet an 80 percent efficiency goal. The utility’s customers are becoming more numerous as the area is built out into deserts. At the same time those customers are demanding more electricity to deal with the climate. Current state law prohibits new nuclear plants while plans for a radioactive waste dump remain out of reach. An initiative for next year’s ballot is being circulated by Assemblymember Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine) that would rescind California’s nuclear power plant prohibition.

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