Do you really want a nuke plant in Levy County?

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By Tom Deverin

Special to the Beacon

In theory, nuclear power is completely safe, that is until you add Mother Nature and humans into the mix and then all bets are off, as we recently witnessed in Japan. There are just so many issues that make people uneasy about sitting a nuclear power plant in Levy County that it is surprising that people are not totally up in arms about this. Here are some of those issues.

The biggest issue is, of course, safety.  As we have seen in Russia and Japan, accidents do happen and the result of those accidents will last for hundreds if not thousands of years. 

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), as do many other government commissions and boards, has a very blurred line as to who is the regulated and who is the regulator. The fox keeps morphing into a chicken and then back into a fox again. So who is on whose side?

The U. S. government had to guarantee $8 billion dollars worth of loans in order to construct a nuclear power plant in Georgia. Why?  Because the market place/investors deemed that the risk versus reward assessment showed that it was a very poor investment. They also knew that no matter what price is quoted for the construction cost, history shows that they will most likely go way over budget.

Recently the NRC had all new construction and design for the Levy County site stand down while a complete safety review was being undertaken. There seems to be some safety concerns. Remember there have been no new nuclear plants constructed for nearly forty years and new plants are a completely new, untested design. 

Homeowner’s insurance policies have a disclaimer that they will not cover a nuclear accident. Do you think that the plant operator will have enough reserve to cover the financial loss that this area, which includes Cedar Key, will suffer?

The proposed plant would use 5.8 million gallons of water every day, which would be drawn from the aquifer at a cumulative rate of over two billion gallons per year. Is that sustainable? How much will that contribute to a drop in the water table and resulting salt water intrusion?  How many springs and lake levels will be affected?

Why is it that other countries through the world are making plans to phase out nuclear power due to the fact that it is too risky and too expensive? Why are we even considering building more nuclear plants when there are more sustainable and cleaner alternatives?

Over the past 50 years there has been a failing to address the issue of how to safely dispose of the waste. This waste is super deadly and has to be maintained safely for thousands of years. How comfortable do you feel with that concept?

The power company - and big companies in general - love places like Levy, rural and poor, to site plants that are threatening to the environment. It makes it easier for them to wow the locals. The government leaders love the idea because they get millions and millions more dollars to spend because of the increase of the tax base. 

If you have similar concerns you should consider contacting our elected officials on the county, city and state levels and express those concerns before it’s too late.