No Nukes is Good Nukes ... For Now
|The 19 sirens you're hearing in San Clemente and 52 total within a 10-mile radius of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station are not Edison's version of church bells rejoicing the Obama administration's favorable view of nukes. The plant is conducting tests through Friday.|
The White House last month announced an $8.3 billion loan guarantee to support construction of two nuclear reactors in Georgia, the first new plants in the U.S. in more than 30 years.
But California will not participate in what President Obama considers an integral component of America's "low-carbon future" because the Golden State in 1976 banned all new nuclear construction until "a demonstrated technology exists" for permanent disposal or reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel.
The leading state legislator to try to change that in recent years is Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine), who is now running for the U.S. Senate. But the bills and voter initiatives he has championed have gone nowhere.
It appeals to our sense of irony to think of DeVore and Obama as sharing an opinion on any issue. But there you have it. California's resolve to outlaw nuclear power is beginning to fissure and fracture, and things will change here, said DeVore, who has made himself something of a policy wonk on the issue.
Fulfilling a dream of new reactors all along the California coastline will not be realized at the polls, under the Capitol dome in Sacramento or through the feds saying the spent fuel disposal issue has been solved, DeVore argues.
More likely would be reactors being built on sovereign American Indian land in California or after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling the finds partial solving of the spent fuel disposal issue is good enough to allow projects to proceeds.
DeVore wagers the next generation of Californians-"which isn't afraid of technology, and doesn't have a Cold War mentality, and never saw The China Syndrome"-will be more receptive to nukes.
"I am optimistic on the long-term prospects because it makes such logical sense," he tells Sforza, "but I'm not optimistic on the short-term prospects."