by John Dankosky - Connecticut’s new commissioner overseeing energy and environmental policy says the nuclear accident in Japan is going to require the nation to step back and look at the “challeges that need to be faced” before moving forward with new nuclear power plants.
Speaking on Where We Live, Dan Esty said that nuclear should be part of a “portfolio” of choices to provide clean and cheap energy. ”Frankly all of the energy options going forward have challenges,” he said. ”The nuclear industry has to make sure that it can dispose of waste safely, and frankly deal with accidents. And I think we don’t yet know what the final outcome of the situation will be in Japan, but it does signal that we need to be careful.”
Esty said that Connecticut’s nuclear plants are a generation more advanced, and have more safety built into them. He also called Connecticut “geologically stable” and a place where nuclear plants could avoid major natural disasters.
“So, I think there is likely to be a commitment to nuclear that goes forward. But I think the difficulty is that this adds – the safety issues that are now at the forefront of people’s minds – adds to the challenge, which was already substantial for nuclear, based on the difficulty of getting new plants licensed and built,” he said.
“And, frankly, the large part of that challenge is economic. These plants have not been built in an economical way in recent years.”
The Millstone Plant in Waterford generates up to 60 percent of the state’s electricity.