In a highly controversial move today, Governor Charlie Crist and the Florida Cabinet blatantly disregarded concerned Florida residents and unanimously approved a Progress Energy nuclear power plant to be built in Levy County, Florida. The headline released just in time for the Tampa 5 o'clock news explains it all: "Crist, Cabinet OK Progress Energy's bid for new nuclear plant".
Governor Crist said today that this "decision proves Florida is on the right path toward achieving energy diversity and independence" as Progress Energy promised to stop using coal fire plants in the immediate area once the nuclear plant is operating. Though nuclear energy is carbon neutral, there are still many dangers from nuclear energy. Besides the obvious fear of a nuclear meltdown, there are still many valid concerns for radiation poisoning of nearby residents, thermal pollution of nearby bodies of water and radiation leaking into the soil. If that doesn't sound bad enough, there is still no solution for what to do with the highly radioactive waste that is an inevitable byproduct of nuclear energy -- though some residents are offering to bury it in nuclear power supporters' backyards.
In addition to being highly dangerous, the new plant would also require funding which will come directly from the pockets of Floridians who are already hurting because of the economy. Electricity costs were raised in January, as Progress Energy stated in this January 2009 press release
"The majority of the project's costs will be invested by the company and its shareholders and will not be recovered from customers through rates until the plant goes in service. However, starting this month [January 2009], customers will begin paying for a portion of the costs of the project as approved by the PSC."
The earliest Floridians will see the energy they are already being forced to invest in will be a decade from now; construction of nuclear plants can take years because of all the necessary security precautions. Construction will only start after the plant passes more required approval
from environmental regulators and other regulatory commissions.