Californian Nuclear Revival? A French Company Rolls the Dice

January, 2010
New York Times

Dan Kammen comments in the NYT on a letter of intent between the Fresno Nuclear Energy Group and the company Areva, owned largely by the French government. Both groups want to promote the construction of European Pressurized Reactors (EPR) in California, stressing the potential for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the Golden State.

Although there has been a moratorium in place in California since 1976 until federal measures solve the issue of waste storage or reprocessing, some observers believe in increased chances for a nuclear power rebirth in California. Kammen confirms: "There is certainly a chance that the legal prohibition will be lifted" and goes on: "It is also important to consider the potential for 'nuclear by wire.' Just as California imports coal and hydro power from out of state, the prospects for nuclear power to be imported via transmission is also a candidate that industrial groups are exploring." 

Despite the many political challenges such endeavor would have to confront, there are practical too. A current project of a nuclear power plant by Avera in Norway faces severe cost overruns and a three year delay.