I was recently forwarded a copy of HB 2002, entitled “An act relating to the generation of electricity in carbonless energy parks,” and while I generally find myself in the pro-parks/anti-carbon camp, I was intrigued enough by the title to read on. So what is, according to this bill, a carbonless energy park?
(b) “Carbonless energy park” means an unfinished site for a nuclear power project that is located east of the crest of the Cascade mountains and is partially or wholly developed to generate electricity with a production capacity of not less than 10 megawatts;
In other words, this bill specifically refers to the four unfinished nuclear plants left mothballed from the costly WPPSS fiasco.
Huh. Sounds to me like a “carbonless energy park” is in fact a nuclear power project, as I’m not sure what other carbonless, 10 megawatt-plus generating technologies could possibly be crammed on these four specific sites? I’m guessing none, but I’ve emailed a handful of legislators asking for further explanation, just in case I’m wrong.
Now, I want to be clear: I’m a technologist at heart, so I break with some of my fellow environmentalists in automatically rejecting nuclear energy as a viable alternative, especially now that greenhouse gas emissions have been recognized as our most pressing environmental threat. I believe that nuclear power plants can be designed, built and operated to be both safe and economical, and as soon as I’m persuaded we have an equally safe, economical and secure means of transporting and disposing of their radioactive waste, I’m more than willing to consider construction based on next generation designs.
But dubbing these sites “carbonless energy parks”…? That’s not an effort to persuade; that’s an effort to deceive.
There are strong arguments to be made for reviving the domestic nuclear power industry—they may not be strong enough to sway public opinion, especially here in sandal-wearing, granola-crunching WA state, but they are valid arguments nonetheless. So if paving the way for restarting construction at the former WPPSS sites is indeed the goal of HB 2002’s sponsors, let them make their best case possible, rather than hiding their motives behind bullshit, pseudo-green Orwellian language like “carbonless energy parks.”