In the second part of this focus on the proposed Fresno Clean Energy Park, writer Barbara Lydick examines in more detail “a project that would help provide energy, water and a cleaner environment for the Valley.” The articles appeared in the Visalia (Calif.) Times-Delta newspaper.
Lydick begins by focusing on the need for water to support agriculture in California’s Central Valley. Agriculture is big business in California, representing over $36 billion in the state.
Increasing agriculture in the Central Valley requires a reliable supply of clean water, as Lydick notes, “the Clean Energy Park project provides a viable solution.” The solution is to desalinate the brackish water beneath the Valley’s surface, but this process requires significant power. “As electricity is the most expensive variable for desalinization, a cost-effective source for this would be nuclear power added to the planned solar plant,” she writes.
California currently has a moratorium on building new nuclear plants, but many view this as an outdated concept.
This prohibition presupposes no viable solution for nuclear waste. However, proven, technically sound and reliably safe solutions for radioactive waste have been around for more than three decades. But this issue is political, not technical, and has played nicely into the hands of anti-nuclear groups.
In addition, there is still support for nuclear energy among policymakers and others, even in California. Lydick cites California Gov. Jerry Brown who referred to nuclear energy as a green source and the Obama administration’s continued support for nuclear energy even in the wake of Fukushima.