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UCF Makes the Trek to Tallahassee to Say NO to Nuclear in Florida

UCF Students think families and local businesses shouldn’t have to pay for nuclear reactors, especially when there are safer renewables available that do not produce radioactive waste. So, at 4:30 a.m. this past Tuesday, they left Orlando to go to the Public Service Commission Early Cost Recovery hearing. The PSC heard expert testimonies all week to determine the prudence of Progress Energy and Florida Power and Light charging consumers to recoup capital costs for their proposed nuclear reactors.

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), the Office of Public Council, and PCS Phosphate are all intervening in the case. Their witnesses testify that early cost recovery is not sensible and that the reactors aren’t even necessary. Peter Bradford, former Chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, one of SACE’s expert witnesses, testified that our slumping economy is reducing the demand for electricity for the first time in decades. Citing rising costs for materials and an increasing shortage of laborers with the skills to complete these projects, he concludes that the risk the utilities are asking their consumers to bear is just too great. The PSC is scheduled to make its ruling October 26, 2009.

If you think the utilities should keep their hands out of your pockets with their risky investments, make your voice heard! Tell the PSC you do not what to fund Progress and Florida Power and Light’s risky business. Urge them to read the expert testimonies offered by Peter Bradford and Arnie Gundersen that cite hard evidence that the utilities cannot justify the request to raise rates for these projects nor can they ensure that ratepayers will get anything in return for their investment.

Here’s how: Use the info below to contact PSC and reference Docket #090009,:
• PSC Contact page: http://www.psc.state.fl.us/about/contact/
• Local Consumer Assistance Line: 1-850-413-6100

• Toll Free Consumer Assistance Line: 1-800-342-3552

• Toll Free Fax: 1-800-511-0809

UCF is Serious About Not Paying for Risky Nuclear

UCF is Serious About Not Paying for Risky Nuclear

Check out Jessica Burris on Bay 9 News!

September 14, 2009 at 3:12 pm 6 comments

Nuclear Issues Heating Up in the Sunshine State!

Public Hearings Coming Soon!

As you probably know, Progress Energy and Florida Power and Light (FP&L) are each proposing two nuclear reactors here in the Sunshine. What Progress and FP&L don’t want you to know is the estimated $41 billion price tag for these four reactors. Even worse, they want you and I to pick up the bill! Progress already increased monthly rates an average of $25 per month this past January, with another proposed increase for the upcoming year. FP&L is currently proposing a 30% rate increase. All of this is allowed through Early Cost Recovery, which can be roughly translated into ‘this is too risky to pay for, so let’s take the customer’s money without returning any of those pesky shareholder benefits, guarantees of productivity, or refunds.’

Florida youth have had enough and are calling for Action by organizing attendance at important hearings in the next 2 weeks. If you are still unsure about nuclear, please consider the following:

Nuclear power is expensive and diverts attention and energy from truly renewable and clean energy sources. If the reactors are approved, they won’t produce energy until 2018. Nuclear Information and Resource Service and the Florida Ecology and Green Parties have intervened in the licensing process. If successful, the intervention would prevent the plant from being built. All the while, we still need energy security and climate safety. We cannot afford to wait on this false solution. We need to invest in efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy NOW!

To add insult to injury, nuclear power is also extremely water intensive, using an estimated 50 Million gallons of water per day per reactor. Nearly 75 percent of that is not recycled and lost through evaporation. With severe droughts persisting throughout parts of Florida and the region, we cannot afford to continue ignoring the impact energy choices have on our precious water supply.

The current plan is to keep part of the waste in-state. With Florida’s 1800 miles of coastline and vulnerability to hurricanes and flooding, I have serious questions about how wise that decision truly is.

If this information is alarming to you, SPEAK out at the meetings and hearings that are coming up in these next two weeks. DEMAND answers to questions about waste and water and safety. STAND UP against utilities dipping into your pockets to fund this risky nuclear business. Join with others around the state who refuse to sit idly as this unfolds. Don’t forget to bring your friends!

On the Siting of the Turkey Point Florida Power and Light Reactors
Host: Miami-Dade & South Florida Regional Planning Council

8/31/09 6:30 pm Homestead, FL
City of Homestead City Council Chambers
790 North Homestead Blvd

9/2/09 6:30 pm Coral Gables, FL
Bank United Center, U of Miami
Hurricane 100 Room
1245 Dauer Drive

On Early Cost Recovery:
Tallahassee, FL 9/8/09 9:30-1:00
Public Service Commission
2540 Shumard Oak Blvd
Hearing Room 148
Public comment allowed at this session, hearing will continue for the rest of the week.

For more information and talking points, please contact mandy@climateaction.net

August 27, 2009 at 11:22 pm 6 comments

Help Stop Progress Energy from Building New Nuclear Reactors in Florida

**Attend Important Siting Board Meeting, August 11, 2009 in Tallahassee**

It’s been over 30 years since a nuclear power plant was approved in Florida and with your support, SACE and our partners have been fighting Progress Energy of Florida’s risky proposal to build two costly new nuclear reactors in Levy County. Last year, Progress submitted an application to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to certify the Levy County site. Now the final decision is about to be made!

Attend an important Cabinet meeting August 11, 2009 and tell Governor Crist and the Cabinet to protect Florida’s environment by denying approval for Progress’ Site Certification Application to build two new nuclear reactors in Levy County.

Now is the time for Florida to move away from these expensive, risky energy proposals and move toward energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy that protect our communities and Florida’s vital natural resources on which our economy relies and protect electricity customers from financial risk.

WHAT:
The Cabinet will meet at 9 am on Tuesday, August 11, 2009 in the Capitol in Tallahassee and will vote on whether to approve Progress’ application to construct two costly nuclear reactors at a Greenfield site in Levy County. The meeting will focus on the environmental impacts that could occur if Progress is allowed to build the first nuclear power plant in Florida in over 30 years. The Cabinet consists of Governor Crist, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, Attorney General Bill McCollum and Agricultural Commissioner Charles Bronson. This is your chance to address the Cabinet directly.

To access the agenda and information on the siting case, visit click here.

HOW:
Attend the 8/11/09 Siting Board meeting:
The meeting will be held in the Cabinet Room located on the lower level of the Capitol Building, room LL 03, down one floor from the lobby, located at 400 S. Monroe St. Tallahassee, FL 32399. Visitor parking for the Capitol Building can be found in Lot E, Level 3 which can be reached from the front of the Capitol, head north on N. Monroe St. to Jefferson St. (one block), turn left, go 3 blocks to Bronough St. (one way street going south), turn left, go one block, then turn right into Level 3 entrance of parking garage.

To give public comment at the meeting you must register with Katie Flanagan, the Cabinet Affairs Rep. for DEP, by telephone at (850) 245-2024, by cellphone at (850) 778-6965, or by emailing katie.flanagan@dep.state.fl.us. Please limit your comments to 2-3 minutes.

If you cannot attend:
Contact the Office of Cabinet Affairs or the Offices of the Governor and other cabinet members to voice your concerns about the Progress Energy’s risky plans for a nuclear plant in Levy County.

Cabinet Contact Information:
Click here for the Cabinet website.

Governor’s Office of Cabinet Affairs: (850) 488-5152



Governor Crist:

Citizen Services Hotline: (850) 488-4441 

Executive Office of the Governor Switchboard: (850) 488-7146 
[8 a.m.-5 p.m.] 

Fax: (850) 487-0801



Attorney General Bill McCollum:

Citizen Services Hotline: (850) 414-3990

Florida Toll-Free: 800-966-7226



Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink:
Office of Cabinet Affairs, Gail Robinson.

Telephone: (850) 413-2825

Telecopier: (850) 488-6581
[Yvonne Gsteiger, Senior Cabinet Aide. Handles issues related to land use and the environment, and the Administration Commission.]



Commissioner Charles Bronson :

Telephone: (850) 488-3022

Background Information:
• The Levy County site has never been developed. Building two reactors and the massive transmission line project that’s required would have significant negative impacts.
• The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the federal agency responsible for licensing, has agreed with concerned organizations that there are several environmental issues of concern that need to be further studied. The Siting Board should not approve the site until these issues are resolved. These issues include:
o Numerous flaws in Progress’ application to the NRC on the impacts of the proposed reactors on wetlands, the underground Floridian aquifer system and the Withlacoochee and Waccasassa Rivers;
o The impact of salt contamination on wetlands;
o Millions of gallons of saltwater would be pumped from the Cross Florida Barge Canal every day to cool the plant, where a third of it would evaporate
before the salty remainder is pumped into an area adjacent to the Big Bend Aquatic Seagrasses Preserve; and
o Deficiencies in the Progress’ plans for radioactive waste disposal, particularly highly-radioactive Class B and C waste. Progress Energy has no viable means of disposing of this waste, nor of storing it onsite.

Click here for more information on the high costs of building new reactors in Florida.

August 7, 2009 at 8:16 pm Leave a comment

Fired Up Freshwoman Tells the Florida Municipal Electric Association to SAY NO to Nukes in Florida

Submitted by Meghan Ryan, entering Freshperson at University of Central Florida:

Ever since Power Shift in February, it seems like I get daily reminders to do something about the environment, to get involved, and to get out of my comfort zone already! When I saw a posted opportunity for Lake Worth residents to get out there and be heard on nuclear issues, I knew I finally needed to get my act together and hit the ground running. I replyed to the post, and got more details about the meeting. Even though I showed interest in making a statement, I was secretly very nervous and very excited for the opportunity! Over the past week, I researched Nuclear power and related arguments so I could write a proper comment that would be effective and would relate to the board members of the Florida Municipal Energy Authority. With support from SEN and guidance on everything from what points to hit on and what to wear, I was ready to go!

The night before, I read over my comment, tweaked it, and finally put it away at midnight so I could get some sleep. I woke up at 8 in the morning to look over my comment one more time, print it out, eat some breakfast, and head up to the PGA Resort where the meeting was being held. I got there a few minutes early and, as I walked up to the ballroom, read my comment out loud again. A valet guy noticed and made a comment that made me laugh, so my nerves eased up a bit.

Within moments of entering the ballroom, I met Panagioti, an Earth First! activist from Lake Worth, as well as Cara Jennings, a Lake Worth City Council Member. Then three more girls from the Earth First Organization arrived. We all represented different interests, but were all speaking out against Nuclear power in Florida. I think it looks good that many people, young and old, activists and decision makers, are concerned about what is going on with Nuclear.

Some final edits to my comment and it was finally time for the meeting to start. Right before it was my turn to speak I was so nervous, but I knew I had to bite the bullet and get up there and speak about something I care about.

“Over the next two months, I encourage you all to do the responsible thing, and reseach Nuclear power, and the alternatives. You all here today have the power to do something great by Saying No to Nukes. The future of my generation and our potential to cut greenhouse gas emissions lies in your vote against building new nuclear plants. We need to make way for green renewable energy solutions and I think you all are going to be the people to do something about it. It starts today, so please go home and do your research, learn about the alternatives, and Say No to Nukes! “

Once I was done speaking, I sat down and started thinking, “This is just the beginning.” I’m so excited to move up to Orlando and attend UCF! Go Knights! But I am also excited to get very involved and do more with the issue of the new nuclear reactors proposed in Florida. I’m also excited to get the word out to my friends and whoever I happen to meet about how vital it is to be aware of the environmental movement and to get on board! I hope more people who are nervous about getting involved just jump in there and get excited, get pumped, do whatever you have to do, and get involved! I had so much fun and I can’t wait for what the future has planned for me!

For more information, see the Florida Municipal Electric Association
Also, see Regress Energy to get the facts on rate increases in Florida.
Want more on Levy County and Progress Energy? Levy County Fact Sheet

July 20, 2009 at 8:04 pm 2 comments

Florida Student Association is Going Green

During the last week of June, the Florida Student Association (FSA) met to plan for their legislative and campus priorities for the upcoming 2009-10 school year. The FSA is comprised of Student Government Presidents and Executive Officers from the 11 universities in the System of Florida.

They met in Orlando for a 3-day planning and strategy meeting, interspersed with educational presentations on topics relevant to students in Florida. These topics included the Bright Futures Scholarship, Student Health Insurance, and Student Representation on Student Fees Committees. Organizers for the meeting invited Southern Energy Network to address the Green Fee and to facilitate a conversation on how to move forward. Earlier this year, in January, the FSA Board of Directors voted to support the Green Fee campaign in Florida. With 8 out of 11 University System schools engaged in some level of the campaign, gaining the support of the state-wide student government association was a celebrated victory for students. Despite intense lobbying efforts from students and the FSA, the legislation that would enable implementation of the fee at schools with approval of the measure stalled out in the 3rd Committee.

I had the opportunity to network with student government from around the state, and met amazing student leaders! Students at Florida International University and Florida A&M University had a keen interest in the Green Fee and other ways their university might increase its efficiency and improve its environmental friendliness. Students at University of North Florida wanted to know how to get their student body engaged on the issues, while University of South Florida wanted to know how to focus the energy of their active campus groups.

During the hour-long breakout session that focused on taking action in the University System, representatives from 6 schools were present and actively engaged on discussion on the history and future of the Green Fee. They asked challenging questions and had some great ideas on how to move forward on the campaign. We also discussed other key energy related legislation, such as the Renewable Portfolio Standard.

Although the Green Fee did not make it onto the larger legislative agenda at this meeting, the Chair of the Legislative Committee, Stephen Mortellaro, has been working on the campaign for over 2 years at University of Central Florida. He considers it a worthy issue that deserves attention from the Association. With the next legislative session 6 months away, we have time to reinvigorate the campus campaigns before we take it back to the Senate!

Stay tuned for more exciting updates as this campaign continues !

For more information on the Florida Student Association, visit their website.

July 16, 2009 at 2:58 pm Leave a comment

From Florida to France, New Nuclear Shouldn’t Have a Chance!

Southern Energy Network represented at the Institute for Environmental Energy Research Carbon Free Nuclear Free workshop last week in Washington, DC. Jessica Burris, one of our interning volunteers, and I spent 5 days learning all sorts of technical information about nuclear energy. We covered a broad range of topics, everything from reprocessing and uranium enrichment to nuclear disarmament. We held strategy sessions to further the Carbon Free Nuclear Free campaign, and then we all had the opportunity to make a presentation to the panel of scientists that work at the Institute. We also heard from experts (from France even!) about why nuclear in France isn’t the love affair we understand it to be.

Jessica and I worked together on a presentation that begins the initial research phases of a larger project that will become her Master’s thesis. She is looking at the Environmental Justice implications of nuclear energy in Florida. Our initial findings were that the existing nuclear reactors in Florida, as well as the new reactor proposals, are all located in communities that have a combination of the following characteristics: well below the average median income for the state, majority minority, well over median age, and very high unemployment. Other characteristics of the areas in which these reactors exist or are proposed: high rates of asthma, high infant mortality, high cancer rates, high percentages of Spanish language homes, and low rates of high school or equivalency attainment. Although we had to revisit some of the science that supported our initial conclusions, our overarching and supported conclusion was that the communities that have nuclear reactors in their backyard are full of people that already have a lot of socio-economic factors to contend with in their daily survival, and that the additional burden on their health and environment is a serious environmental racism and justice issue.

If you are still undecided about nuclear energy, here are some things to consider:

**Nuclear reactors produce tons of spent fuel, which is high-level radioactive waste that is harmful to all life for over 10,000 years.
**There is currently no long-term storage for all of this waste.
**Nuclear reactors also produce tons of low-level waste that creates another “safe storage” problem.
**Nuclear reactors are VERY THRISTY. In a world with increasing water shortages, we need less water intensive alternatives.
**Nuclear energy is risky business. Wall Street won’t invest in it, why should you? Many states, including Florida, are passing the capital costs onto you with “Early Cost Recovery” and “Construction Work in Progress” rate-increases on your energy bill. See Regress Energy for more information on how this is playing out in Florida.
**Thermal discharge from reactors endangers surrounding marine eco-systems.

For more on the science behind this madness, check out www.ieer.org

The Southeast currently has 13 new nuclear reactor proposals. There are a number of local, state, regional, and national groups getting organized to keep these expensive, risky, water intensive, dangerous energy sources out of our communities. Here are some organizations that you can plug into to take action:

Southern Energy Network–We are looking to build a team of passionate youth to organize our region out of risky nuclear and into renewables! Contact mandy@climateaction.net for more information.
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Institute for Environmental and Energy Research

June 28, 2009 at 6:11 pm 1 comment

Florida Green Fee: Legislation Fizzled, But Campus Campaigns Still Sizzle!

The Green Fee campaign in Florida has already seen so much activity this year! The statewide coalition of schools worked closely with Florida Senator Lee Constantine’s office to present a Renewable Energy Fund Bill in the Florida House and Senate. The bill would have provided the necessary legislation for universities in the state system to implement the Green Fee. Florida and Texas are two of the only states that require students to navigate the legislative process in their quest to create funds to increase sustainability on their campuses. For more info and a nice blog hit for the campaign, see this: New York Times Blog Hit for Florida Green Fee!

The legislation flew through the first two committees, and met strong adversity in the third Higher Education Appropriations Committee. This committee is chaired by Senator Evelyn Lynn, who refused to place it on the agenda, but admitted on the floor that her office had fielded “40 or more calls per day” in support of the Fee. She used our display of Green Fee support as a testament to her overall disapproval for raising student fees. Although this is commendable in the face of the economic challenges we currently face, many students feel they should be given the choice to invest in their energy future to support a green economy. Most would be paying less that $20 per year, and with the current maximum being set at $1 per credit hour, the most a student would pay is $30 per year. A minimal investment considering the current peril of our climate and energy security!

So, what now? Well, all of this excitement has stirred up new campus campaigns and reinvigorated old ones! We are going to have a meeting sometime around August to flesh the plans out, but it looks like we are going to redirect our energies back onto the campus campaigns. Having other campuses join University of Florida and New College as leading institutions advocating for the students will increase the pressure on the state legislature to give the students and their universities what they demand: A Green Fee to Support a Green Future in Florida!

For more information, check out: www.floridagreenfee.com

or, contact mandy@climateaction.net

May 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm Leave a comment

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