Nuclear power has benefits; being truly ‘clean’ isn’t one

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Gov. Crist and the Legislature originally asked the PSC to draft a plan for Florida to get 20 percent of its power from “renewable” sources. The definition of “renewable” did not include nuclear power. The staff of the Public Service Commission last week said utilities should be able to meet the goal using “clean” sources as well and that nuclear power generated from new plants should qualify as “clean.” The staff also recommends that utilities have until 2041 to meet the 20 percent standard.

The timeline is too long. And the recommendations favoring nuclear power take away incentives for innovation in wind, solar, tidal and other alternative energy sources that are renewable.

Not surprisingly Florida Power & Light – which already plans new nuclear units – pushed for nuclear power’s “clean” status and welcomed the staff’s recommendation. “With a clean-energy standard that includes new nuclear generation as well as wind and solar, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce costs, dampen fuel price volatility for customers, and meet aggressive targets that should ultimately be adopted by the state,” FPL spokesman Mayco Villafana said.

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