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07 June 2011, 3:04 PM
Fresno Board of Supervisors rejects a nuclear-power proposal

The Fresno, California, Board of Supervisors has decided not to endorse a proposal by the Fresno Nuclear Energy Group to build a “Clean Energy Park,” outside town. The park would boast two big, 1,600-megawatt, French-made reactors, a solar-thermal plant, and a water desalination facility.

The account in the Fresno Business Journal doesn’t mention Japan or Fukushima explicitly, but the shadow in the background is unmistakable. And it must send shivers down the backs of people promoting a nuclear renaissance as the cure for global warming—especially as Germany has recently decided to stop building new reactors and to retire existing plants as replacement power comes on-line. Japan is clearly rethinking its commitment to nuclear power as well.

The challenge now, it seems to me at least, is to make sure that Fresno, Germany, Japan and everyone else don’t build new coal- or natural-gas-fined plants to replace lost nuclear capacity.
Bring on the sun and the wind.
And by the way, what’s up with a desalination plant in Fresno? It’s a long way from the ocean. None of the documents I could find explain that small point.

Tom - I was curious about desalination, too, wondering if their groundwater was salty:

Potentially thirty different substances need to be removed from the contaminated groundwater before it is usable for other purposes. ... Agricultural waste water will pass through ultra filtration membranes that remove coarse debris from the water. The process of reverse osmosis separates the waste water into two streams – a “pure water” stream and a brine stream. The Fresno Clean Energy Park will return the pure water to farmers for irrigation and mine the brine stream for salts to be used in manufacturing.

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