Nuclear power plant debate in Fresno heats up

FRESNO, Calif.

Dallas Blanchard of Fresno was one of about 20 people who spoke out at Tuesdays Board of Supervisors meeting. "Anybody who is seriously considering voting for this should look at Japan, radiation is still leaking to this day."

Fresno Social Activist Ellie Bluestein said; "It's hard to believe that supervisors who are seriously concerned about our safety and well being would consider a nuclear part of it."

But Supervisor Judy Case countered that we shouldn't rule out nuclear because we need more power, and said she doesn't like windmills. "I'm concerned that all those wind generators will be on every hilltop in California. That environmentally is not very attractive to me, I don't like it."

Both Case and Supervisor Phil Larson said nuclear should be considered because solar plants will take up valuable farmland. They had previously joined Supervisor Debbie Poochigian in indicating they wanted to write a letter of support for the Fresno Nuclear Energy Group. The groups CEO John Hutson said, a letter from the County Supervisors would be nice. "All we're looking for here really is a letter that says you are interested in furthering the investigation, that's it."

The group wants to partner with a French Company, Areva, to build two nuclear plants somewhere in Fresno County. Supervisors Susan Anderson, and Henry Perea opposed writing anything for the nuclear group.

Anderson said, "I think those people who are promoting nuclear power have their heads in the sand. If we are going to write a letter I think we should say we are not open to a nuclear power plant in our Valley, it doesn't make sense for us."

Perea said the request for a letter was wrong, and claimed the Nuclear Group simply wanted to use it to attract investors. "To come to a Board like this or any City Council in our county and say I need a letter from you to raise x number of millions of dollars, it's not appropriate. It's not appropriate for them to do that. I really think it's premature for us to be sending any letter because any letter we send will imply our support for this project."

In the end, with the chambers packed with opponents of nuclear power the board voted unanimously against sending any letter, but said they'd work on some kind of county energy policy.

Hutson said his group will keep planning for nuclear power plants, without supervisors support, or a clear location. "Where it's going to go remains to be seen." He said, after the meeting.

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