No nuclear initiative for California in 2008
Assemblyman Chuck DeVore pulled the plug this week on his quixotic quest to put an initiated referendum on the California ballot by June 2008 that would, if passed, have overturned the state's three decades old ban on new nuclear power plants.
Reuters reports that he canceled the effort because he did not get enough signatures to put the measure to a vote. In fact, he never collected any signatures at all. Political analysts told him that a 10% spread between pro-and-anti-nuclear sentiments was not enough to justify spending millions on signature collection and the election.
Despite considerable bravado, it looks like Chuck just could not get up the head of steam he needed to make it to the station. California's ban on new nuclear power plants, now more than 30 years along, will continue. It guarantees that the lights will stay on in Los Angeles and other California cities through the help of coal-fired power plants.
DeVore, a Republican from a conservative political district in Orange County, claims opponents of nuclear power are ignoring the fact that it does not emit greenhouse gases that cause global warming and that the state won't meet its ambitious renewable power generation goals and greenhouse gas emission reductions without it.
His opponents including Dan Hirsch, president of the Committee to Bridge the Gap, disagree. In a predictable and ecstatic outburst of rhetoric pitchforking the politically dead effort, Hirsch said,
"Nuclear power is the most dangerous technology on earth, with risks of meltdowns, terrorist attack, proliferation, and leaking long-lived wastes. This humiliating reversal for a proposed initiative to revive it in California is a great victory for common sense. Now the state can focus on safe and sensible renewable solutions to global warming."
Maybe that will be true for California, but elsewhere things are different. U.S. nuclear power builders say by the end of 2009 they will file for 32 new nuclear power reactors, most of them on existing plant sites in the U.S. Southeast and Texas. None will be in the West and certainly not in the Golden State.