Anti-nuke bill put on hold

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, July 13, 2007 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Nuclear power, controversial from the start, is beginning to acquire some unlikely supporters.  The reason is that nuclear plants provide a significant amount of non greenhouse-gas emitting electricity, a key consideration as California embarks on a low-carbon future pursuant to last year's AB 32, The Global Warming Solutions Act (Chapter 488, Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles).  

This new appreciation for nuclear power may have something to do with the decision by an Assembly committee to put the brakes on an anti-nuclear bill by Assemblymember Mark Leno (D-San Francisco).  AB 1046 prohibits the California Public Utilities Commission from allowing an investor-owned utility to recover costs associated with renewing a license for a nuclear power plant, or the costs of operating the facility until the California Energy Commission (CEC) has completed its assessment of the costs associated with accumulating waste at California's nuclear power plants.  The bill was put on hold until next year.

The license for Pacific Gas & Electric's Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant expires in 2021.  The license for the San Onofre nuclear power plant, owned by Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, expires in 2022.  Both facilities are in the re-licensing process.

Local opposition has been a factor for the more than two decades the facilities have been in operation.  The federal government has selected the Yucca Mountain Project in Nevada as a permanent repository for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel, although development of the site has been delayed by a number of permitting and related problems.

CMTA believes that AB 1046 is unnecessary and could lead to costly delays at the state's two nuclear power plants which presently provide inexpensive, zero emission baseload power that is vital to grid reliability and represents a full ten percent of the state's electrical supply.  

Last year's AB 1632 (Chapter 722, Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo) requires the CEC to compile and assess scientific studies to determine the potential vulnerability of the state's nuclear power plants due to aging or a major seismic event, and to assess the potential state and local costs associated with accumulating waste.  Workshops begin this summer.  The report is due by November 1, 2008.

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