New Nuclear Plant proposed for Levy County, 85 miles north of Tampa by Mitch E. Perry


Yesterday Progress Energy announced that it has selected a site in Levy County for a new nuclear power plant – if they decide to build one.

Progress says the 3,000 acre site, located 85 miles north of Tampa and just 8 miles from Progress’ Crystal River Plant, could actually hold 2 nuclear power plants. One reactor would cost between 2 ½ to 3 ½ billion dollars to build, and it would produce at least 1,100 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power 700,000 homes.

With concerns about global warming and increasing energy demands, nuclear power has been making something of a comeback in the last year. Unlike coal plants, nuclear energy does not emit greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming.

But there are still serious environmental concerns.

Holly Binns is with Environment Florida. (roll tape#1 o.q.�prudent decision�)

In making their announcement yesterday about the purchasing of land in Levy County, Progress Energy said that electricity demand in Central Florida – the territory they serve- is expected to increase 25 percent over the next decade.

A new study conducted by the group 1,000 friends of Florida says that Florida’s population is expected to double to 36 million in 50 years.

Darden Rice from the Suncoast Sierra Club admits it is challenge – for the entire country – to find new, clean sources of energy for a growing population (roll tape#2 O.Q. ‘cost of doing businesses�)

Because of a confluence of reasons, nuclear power as a way to provide energy to U.S. citizens has made something of a comeback in 2006. But , in some ways, it never went away. Although there hasn’t been a power plant built in this country since the Three Mile Island plant in Pensylvania suffered a partial meltdown in 1979, there are 103 nuclear reactors working right now, providing about 20 just 20 percent of America's electricity.

And some environmentalists have come on board in supporting nuclear power. None bigger than the founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, who wrote earlier this year that his views had changed - and that nuclear could become the energy source that can save the planet from catastrophic climate change.

But many other environmentalists cannot go there. Holly Binns (roll tape#3 o.q “environmental organization�)

In the proposed site of the nuclear plant, the feelings are somewhat mixed.

The nearest community to the proposed site is Inglis, a town of about 1,900 residents less than two miles south.

Sallie McCranie is the town manager for Inglis, Florida, a town of approximately 1900 residents located less than 2 miles south of the proposed site. (roll tape#4 o.q. “harmful to us or not�)

But McCranie says that there are plenty of residents who feel that there already HAVE been adverse health conditions impacted on the local community from the Crystal River Energy Complex nearby, which has a nuclear plant and 4 coal burning generators (roll tape#5 o.q.’from the power plant�)

Environmentalists say that companies like Progress Energy should start working now on cleaner and more renewable sources of energy to take care of providing electricity to Florida.

And Environment Florida’s Holly Binns says that the state legislature recently passed a bill that means that Progress Energy customers can soon start seeing rate hikes because of the nuclear plant, even though it will be perhaps a decade before anybody will receive any energy from it (roll tape#6 o.q.�after they break ground�)

Progress Energy said on Tuesday that they hope to begin building in 2010, but could delay or cancel the project if financial conditions become unfavorable.

Progress also says they will keep the waste on their site until other arrangements – like potentially Nevada’s Yucca Mountain can allow for it to be moved off-sight.

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