pimpin’ perry

Rick Perry traveled to Los Angeles to lay out his energy plan for Texas. I’m just amazed. Not that Perry — along with Governors across the windy Plains states — see the bonanza to be had in wind energy (or that they continue to give short shrift to sun), but that the only counterpoint offered to Perry’s pimping for more nuclear investment came from our dear Karen Hadden up at SEED.

I guess our girl has finally arrived (or Smitty was busy). Anyway, nice to see algae potential being mentioned. I guess if you are taking on the EPA on corn-based fuels you better have to have something to offer in return. Even if it is the equivalent of Bush’s big speech on the new hydrogen economy a few years back.

From the “West Coast Bureau” of Cox Communications and the Austin American-Statesman (did anyone out there know there was a “West Coast Bureau” to the Austin daily?): Rick Perry wants the state to be known for alternative energy sources

Perry said he wants to double the number of nuclear plants in the state within the next 10 years, increase development of biofuels made from algae and other sources, and dramatically boost the state’s production and use of wind energy — an area where Texas has surpassed California to lead the country.

“I want Texas to be the epicenter of energy development — wind, solar, clean coal, obviously natural gas, nuclear and biofuels,” Perry said during a visit to California, which is considered the nation’s leader in alternative energy development. He added that he can envision a day when the state gets more of its power from alternative energy than from fossil fuels such as oil and coal…

Perry indicated that he’d like Texas to develop its nuclear power industry as much as it has developed its wind power industry.

“We’ve made some great progress in showing the public that we can build nuclear plants safely and we can operate them safely — just as we’ve shown the country that we can drill offshore and not impact our shoreline,” Perry said.

Nuke companies mentioned in the article scoping out the Lone Star State include NRG Energy (San Anto partner at South Texas Nuclear Plant), TXU-reformed Luminant, and Illinois water-polluting Exelon (San Anto backup radwaster targeting Victoria).

Perry couldn’t stop while he was ahead, adding: “As economics becomes a part of this, and as history shows us … that you can build nuclear plants and do it safely and economically … it’s going to create a difference in how people think about energy,” he said.

Of course, selective memory at work here. The twin plants at South Texas Nuclear nearly bankrupted the ciyt of Austin, one reason the partner city has kept its distance from the current agreements for expansion there.

Karen Hadden, executive director of the SEED (Sustainable Energy and Economic Development) Coalition in Austin, said Perry should be pushing renewable energy, but not nuclear energy.

“Rick Perry is a friend of dirty energy and of nuclear power, which we do not see as a solution,” Hadden said. “It’s good that he’s supporting renewables — as well he should be. But he’s still pushing these other things.

“We don’t even need this (nuclear) power,” said Hadden, whose group runs the Web site nukefreetexas.org. “We know that efficiency and renewables can and will do the job.”

In case you missed it. LA’s City Beat ran a critical examination of the risk of nuclear terrorism by a fellow trouble-maker, Tad Daley. Though Daley failed to mention how expanding nuclear power production portends an explosion of risks, he swore (responding to my querying email) that his forth-coming book will chronicle that reality. Stay tuned for book tour dates.

Much worth the read: Going Ballistic.

While we’re on the topic, you may be inspired to respond to the following action alert from the NRDC…

Speak out to end the civil use of highly enriched uranium

Highly enriched uranium is one of the key components used to build nuclear weapons, and a crude nuclear device constructed with highly enriched uranium poses the greatest risk of mass destruction by terrorists. Although constructing an improvised nuclear explosive device is alarmingly easy when provided a sufficient amount of highly enriched uranium, some facilities housing this nuclear material are poorly secured and vulnerable to theft.

The highly enriched uranium most vulnerable to theft is that in commercial and civil use. While it is difficult to reduce this threat abroad, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission can help ensure public safety here by banning the licensing of highly enriched uranium for commercial and other civil uses in the United States, and banning licenses that allow its export for commercial purposes. A ban would not only restrict the availability of this extremely dangerous form of uranium, but also would send a clear message to other countries on the urgent need to eliminate vulnerable sources of highly enriched uranium around the world.

NRDC has petitioned the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to fix a date after which it will no longer license the civil use or export of highly enriched uranium, and the commission is accepting public comments on our petition through August 11th.

== What to do ==
Send a message, before the August 11th comment deadline, urging the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to end the civil use of highly enriched uranium.

== Additional information ==
Read NRDC’s recent “Scientific American” article on highly enriched uranium security.

== Contact information ==
You can send an official comment to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission directly from NRDC’s Action Center, or use the contact information below to send your own message.

Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications staff
Washington, DC 20555
Email: rulemaking.comments@nrc.gov

If you don't have any plans this weekend, would you mind Freeing Lucky or something?

Also: Pretty cool. Record-breaking tree planting campaigns in Mexico.

ACHTUNG, VOLKS!

Two meetings swinging low on the horizon. Both set for August 7.

N-BAF bio-terror facility hearing in San Antonio

&

Nukes plants for Victoria (below)

NRC MEETING AUG. 7 IN VICTORIA, TEXAS

TO DISCUSS REVIEW PROCESS FOR EXPECTED NEW REACTOR APPLICATION

Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will conduct a public meeting in Victoria, Texas, on Thursday, Aug. 7, to discuss how the agency will review an expected Combined License (COL) application for two reactors at the Victoria County site, about 13 miles south of Victoria. The prospective applicant, Exelon, has told the NRC it intends to apply later this year for a license to build and operate two Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactors (ESBWR) at the site.

“We want the people in and around Victoria to understand what’s being proposed and how we’ll review the application,” said David Matthews, Director of the Division of New Reactor Licensing in the NRC’s Office of New Reactors. “Since the proposed site has no existing operating nuclear power plant, we’ll be looking to residents in the area for valuable information we need during our reviews.”

The NRC will hold the meeting in the Dome Room of the Victoria Community Center, 2905 E North St. in Victoria, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. NRC staff presentations will describe the overall COL review process, which includes safety and environmental assessments, as well as how the public can participate in the process. The NRC will host an open house for an hour prior to the meeting so members of the public have the opportunity to talk informally with agency staff.

A COL, if issued, provides NRC authorization to construct and, with conditions, operate a nuclear power plant at a specific site in accordance with laws and regulations. More information on the NRC’s new reactor licensing process is available on the agency’s Web site at: http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactor-licensing.html.

The ESBWR is a 1,500 MWe design currently under NRC review for possible certification; more information is available on the NRC Web site at: http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-licensing/design-cert/esbwr.html.

[IMAGES: Top image from Oregon State University admissions blog. Lucky by yours truly.]

[PERSONAL POSTSCRIPTING: Eyem offe to soake mye aches and painz fira few deys. Laterz.]

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