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Energy Changes in California?

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Original Title:
Nuclear Power Making a California Comeback

Nearly two decades after Sacramento area residents voted to close the Rancho Seco nuclear power plant, the nuclear power industry is trying to make a California comeback. An organization called the Fresno Nuclear Energy Group is pushing to build a new nuclear power plant near the Fresno water treatment facility.

"We think the public is going to benefit by having a nuclear power plant here," said John Hutson, president and chief executive of the Fresno Nuclear Energy Group.

Nuclear power advocates say rising energy prices and global warming concerns may cause Californians to reconsider the issue of nuclear energy. They say nuclear power is a clean alternative to fossil fuels.

"We frankly are going to have to find other alternatives for producing energy," said Sen. Dave Cox, R-Fair Oaks, who is also a former SMUD board member. "Certainly nuclear power is one of those things that we ought to probably be looking to."

But some environmental groups are skeptical.

"The nuclear industry is shamelessly trying to manipulate public concern over global warming to revive the nuclear power industry," said Bill Magavern, senior representative with the Sierra Club. "Nuclear power is the wrong solution."

Attempts to revive nuclear power in California face a number of roadblocks. State law currently prohibits construction of new nuclear power facilities until the federal government builds a permanent facility to store spent fuel rods. Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, is pushing new legislation that would repeal that prohibition, potentially helping pave the way for new construction.

DeVore's bill, AB 719, is scheduled to be heard before the Assembly Natural Resources Committee April 17.

(This story was provided by News10 KXTV Sacramento.)

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