Nuclear Power in North Central Florida?
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV 20 News.
They are already negotiating with Progress Energy to buy a piece of two nuclear plants that have been proposed to be built in Levy County.
Is nuclear power the way to go? That's the question on everyone's mind. The cost, the environmental impact and the threat of a catastrophic event are all topics that were discussed in Tuesday's meeting.
UF Nuclear Energy Professor Dr. Samim Anghaie made the first presentation. He displayed polls showing public opinion behind nuclear energy and says that nuclear technology is dramatically safer. But not everyone agrees.
"The risk associated with nuclear power, while they have made a lot of improvements, are not fundamentally different from what killed the technology the first time," says Brice Smith, Physics Professor at SUNY Cortland and author of the book, "Insurmountable Risks: The Dangers of Using Nuclear Power to Combat Global Climate Change".
But an nuclear industry spokesman says nuclear power has two distinct advantages over other sources of power.
"One, it doesn't emit a greenhouse gas," says Adrian Heymer with the Nuclear Energy Institute. "Two, it provides a stable and reliable source of electricity going forward. And you can rely on that going forward from now to 2060."
Progress Energy will seek state and federal approval to build 1 or 2 plants at a site near Inglis next year. They hope to start construction by 2011 and have it up and running by 2016.
Each plant would produce about 1200 megaWatts of power, or enough juice to light up 700,000 homes and businesses.
Ed Regan with Gainesville Regional Utilities says negotiations continue as GRU looks to buy a small sliver of the proposed nuclear plant. He says GRU is looking to own between 1.2% and 2.1% of a future plant. That translates to between 4000 and 15,000 GRU customers who may be paying their power bill within a decade with homes lit up by nuclear power if Gainesville city leaders decide to forward.
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