It’s been all over the papers the past few days. The Florida Public Service Commission recently approved cost recovery figures for a number of planned and existing nuclear plants managed by FPL and Progress Energy Florida. The Sunshine State Ignores Solar.
In other words, these two can begin charging us more for the electricity they create from nuclear sources.
Such an announcement would have been bad in isolation. But when you consider that Florida’s legislature also revised our renewable portfolio standards specifically to include nuclear power, there’s clearly a concerted effort by state officials to nurture a technology whose time has long past.
I’m not opposed to state or federal governments making long-term decisions about our energy future. In fact, I’ve often written about how our elected officials don’t go far enough. As a solar PV installation instructor, I’m constantly amazed that Florida’s green incentives lag far behind New Jersey, Ontario, Japan, and countless other regions that don’t enjoy the solar potential of the Sunshine State.
Worse still, Florida’s government maintains policies that actually disincentivize homeowners.
The Government Should Act – But It Should Act Responsibly
Although I’m all for greater government involvement, I’m deeply disappointed that this involvement grants so much priority to nuclear energy.
After all, there’s a reason why France, one of the largest markets for nuclear power, decided against building more reactors – a decision made long before the Fukushima Daiichi disaster of 2011.
I could go on and on about the safety risks of nuclear energy. For me, these are sufficient reasons to abandon the technology altogether. But obviously, not everyone feels that way, which is why our state continues to invest in more reactors.
So here are some additional reasons:
1. Nuclear Energy is Expensive
The actual energy generation is cheap (and thus its biggest selling point), but building new plants costs billions in taxpayer money. Arguably bigger still are the disposal expenses – a financial commitment that never really goes away.