Green Plan disguises Nuclear Plant

SUBHEAD: Masked as a desalination plant the Fresno Clean Energy Park is a plan for more nukes in California.  

By Juan Wilson on 1 June 2011 for Island Breath - 

Image above: Detail of rendering of Fresno Clean Energy Park by Areva LLC. From ( For enlarges entire illustration click on image.

A recently signed deal between Areva LLC (the French nuclear power company) and Fresno Nuclear Energy Group, LLC (FNEG) would bring two nuclear reactors to Fresno, California, with a "Clean Energy Park" that would also include solar and wind powered energy generators. AREVA and the Fresno Nuclear Energy Group, LLC (FNEG) announced today they have signed a contract to initiate the first phase in the development of an advanced Clean Energy Park near Fresno, California, USA. This from Areva on 3/30/11:
Phase one of the Fresno Clean Energy Park envisions a Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant, which will power a water processing plant integrated with a waste water treatment facility. The contract focuses on activities to support the feasibility assessments of the project.
Today’s contract follows a series of milestones for the Fresno Clean Energy Park beginning with an April 2010 Memorandum of Understanding between AREVA and FNEG to begin development of the project using all AREVA technologies.
“Clean Energy Parks, like the one under development in Fresno, will help the United States meet a growing demand for clean power generation using AREVA’s advanced nuclear energy and renewable technologies,” said Jacques Besnainou, CEO of AREVA North America. “The technologies available include AREVA’s U.S. EPR and other (nuclear) reactors, concentrated solar, offshore wind and biomass plants.” (
The Areva-FNEG partnership claims the nuclear reactors would be for desalinating contaminated water and would not constitute an electric utility. This would help get around California's current moratorium on utility companies building nuclear power plants. FNEG claims that water is more valuable than electricity to the Fresno region - a case we won't dispute. However the idea that electrical energy generated by the nuclear plant could be given away free does not mean the facility would not be an electric utility. See the article below from the California Current on 10/15/10.
The head of a group proposing a 1,600 MW nuclear power plant in Fresno said if the project goes forward it is not subject to California’s moratorium on new nuclear plants. “The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has siting jurisdiction, not the state,” asserted John Hutson, Fresno Nuclear Energy Group president, which is pushing the nuclear project. Hutson’s group and Areva, a French corporation, signed a memorandum of understanding to build two nuclear units last April. Since 1976, California law has prohibited building new nuclear plants. The moratorium has been in place because of the lack of a national long-term radioactive waste dump. The proposed repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is moribund. If federal permitting is sought, Hutson said during a California Public Utilities Commission-sponsored seminar October 14 that he expects to be sued by the state. To bolster his case, he said the state moratorium was in place to protect ratepayers from uncertain and risky utility investments. The proposed Fresno Energy Park would not be owned or operated by a utility nor would its primary function be electricity for the grid. The plan is to desalinate the region’s groundwater and wastewater for potable consumption, he claimed. Hutson insisted that the project also would be financed with private money and would not be dependent on Department of Energy loan guarantees. When asked if private financing had been lined up, he said “not as much as some might expect.” He added, “We don’t see in any foreseeable problems” on the financing front. Areva vice president Alan Hanson and Hutson said the park would include a solar thermal project component, expected to produce up to 400 MW. Nuclear and intermittent renewable power are codependent, they said. “The truth is that solar and wind can’t do it without nuclear power and nuclear can’t do it without help from its little brother and sister windy and sunny.” Hanson added that given the permit requests to extend the life of nuclear reactors, “It is wise to revisit recycling nuclear fuels. PGE&E awaits approval to extend the life of it’s Diablo Canyon nuke for 20 years. Southern California Edison said it would file for a license extension for its facility, San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. The Fresno project seeks 5,000 acres in Western Fresno. (
You notice that the cynical duplicity of FNEG is completely out in the open. They are basically saying "We lying to you in order that you'll accept what we are going to do so that you won't have to change anything about the way you conduct your lives, and you can feel good about it because it's Green". Here is more from a recent CNBC article about the projecton 5/10/11:
California wants to go green. However, it does not want to go nuclear.

There's been a moratorium on building new nuclear plants in the Golden State since1976. The two remaining operational plants, PG&E's Diablo Canyon and Edison's San Onofre, are both along the coast and near earthquake faults.
Both have gotten new attention since the quake and tsunami in Japan caused major damage to the Fukushima Daiichi plant, but neither California facility has ever experienced serious problems due to natural disasters. Yet.
One of the reasons for the moratorium is the lack of a permanent disposal site for nuclear waste in the U.S. Currently, the waste is held on site, as operators wait for the federal government to develop a final dumping ground, since killing funding for the proposed Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository in Nevada.

Now, a French company is gambling it can beat the odds and build a nuclear plant in the heart of California's fertile farmland. Areva, which is controlled by the French government, has partnered with a group of California businessmen and farmers who've formed the Fresno Nuclear Energy Group.
They've started the permitting process for a 4,000-watt clean energy park near Fresno which would include two 1,600-megawatt nuclear reactors. The remaining 800 megawatts of power would come from wind and solar thermal power on site. The partners want to put the multi-billion dollar facility amid some of the most productive agricultural land in the country.
"There's an old expression in the nuclear business," says John Hutson, President and CEO of the Fresno Nuclear Energy Group. "The more you know about nuclear, the less you'll fear it, and the more you know about global climate change, the more you'll fear it."
He and his Fresno partners have put in hundreds of thousands of dollars of their own money to try to get the ball rolling. It may be rolling uphill.
First, there's the problem of the moratorium because of no permanent waste site. Areva says it can ship the Fresno nuclear waste to France, as it does for other customers, where it would be recycled.
But the company admits France won't keep the leftovers. That so-called "residual waste" would be shipped back to the U.S. "That material will be glass, which means it will be more resistant to environmental forces," says Areva's Jarret Adams.
Still, there would be no place in the U.S. to store it. Adams hopes that by the time any plant is built and any used rods need long-term storage, the U.S. will have come up with a solution.
John Hutson thinks he has an argument to avoid the moratorium altogether. "If we're not making electricity, the moratorium has nothing to do with us," he says. Hutson claims the power generated would be used to desalinate water, not power customers on the grid. "There's currently no law in California that says you can't use nuclear power for industrial purposes to create steam."
"You could put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig," says Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea, who isn't buying branding efforts that call the plant a clean energy park meant to help farmers get access to water. "When you peel it all away, it's a nuclear power plant."
He sees nuclear power "as a viable energy source," but is concerned about putting a plant in the San Joaquin Valley near the San Andreas Fault. "You put a nuclear plant in the middle of a $5.4 billion ag industry and something happens, you're wiping out the Americans' food supply."
This all sounds like a giant confidence operation to push forward nuclear energy using the Nuclear Regulatory Agency as a battering ram against state rights... not unlike the KIUC-FFP deal to move hydro-electricity foward on Kauai using the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as a bludgeon. .

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