Nuclear power plant proposed for Fresno

December 14, 2006 6:53am

•  Local group says it’s needed

•  If built, would be Central Valley’s second

A nuclear power plant has been proposed for the Fresno area of the Central Valley by a group of local businessmen – who concede that it could be quite a while, if ever, before construction would begin.

The 1,600-megawatt nuclear plant could be located at the Fresno sewer plant on the west side of the city, according to John Hutson, chairman of the Fresno Utilities Commission and chief executive officer of the company that’s proposing the plant, Fresno Nuclear Energy Group LLC.

Construction of new nuclear power plants anywhere in the state is banned by California law. What to do with spent fuel would have to be solved before the moratorium could be lifted.

Construction cost is estimated at $4 billion, but up to 80 percent of that might be backed by federally guaranteed loans, Mr. Hutson says.

The only nuclear power plant to operate in the Central Valley is the Rancho Seco plant owned by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. It operated for 14 years before being taken offline in 1989.

The state has two operating nuclear plants – Diablo Canyon, operated by Pacific Gas & Electric co. (NYSE: PCG) near San Luis Obispo, and San Onofre, operated by Southern California Edison (NYSE: EIX) near San Clemente.

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