Sunday, May 11, 2008

Tri-City Herald editors, look outward for answers on Areva

Someone needs to tell Dino Rossi, Richard Hastings, and the Tri-City Herald editorial staff that the world does not revolve around them. Nor does it revolve around their agenda to trash one of the best governors this state has ever had. One can understand why Rossi and Hastings seek to blame the good governor for the loss of the Areva enrichment plant. It’s good politics for them. When you have no substance on which to run you have no choice but to invent something. It’s illuminating to see the Herald carrying water for them. Despite lacing their editorial with denials to the contrary it is clear that the editors are taking a purely political stance in complete compliance with their local Republican handlers. It is also clear that they are, shall we say, somewhat deficient in journalistic objectivity. I doubt they bothered to spend 10 seconds thinking about why Areva actually made the decision it did. It was so much easier to plug in to the talking points that matched their favored political agenda. Those of us who actually work for Areva know that it is a huge corporation that sometimes makes decisions in ways that are mysterious and arcane. I personally have no special knowledge of the thinking behind the Areva decision but I can make some educated guesses, none of which have to do with Washington state politics. It’s no secret that Areva, as the only company that is currently building new nuclear power plants, is positioning itself to be a major player if not THE player in the coming nuclear renaissance in the U.S. As such its appetite for native nuclear know-how is insatiable. By selecting the Idaho site Areva can establish a presence in one of the few remaining nuclear-friendly communities in which it does not already have one. Many an Idaho-grown engineer and technician will find themselves locally-hired but globally utilized just as has happened in Richland. On the technical side of things, the gas-centrifuge technology is wrapped in layers of high security clearance. One may be able to buy the rights to use it but one is not allowed to see the equipment that does it. Since the Idaho Falls site is even more remote than the Tri-cities and has remained under a military-level of security, I suspect that the arbiters of the gas-centrifuge technology have a keen interest in putting the plant near a place that has on-going military missions. These are things that Olympia could no more affect than the rainfall on Rattlesnake Mountain.

The Herald editors do a disservice to its readers when all they choose to see is the small local picture. They do a truly enormous disservice when they treat the Rossi/Hastings cry-baby whining as something more than it is, cry-baby whining. It time to grow up, folks.

1 comment:

Space Fission said...

While Areva does have nuclear plants under construction in France and Finland, Toshiba / Westinghouse has broken ground in China for four AP1000 units, two at two locations each. Also, Southern has signed an EPC deal with Westinghouse for two new plants in South Caroline. That said note the one of the reasons Areva wants to build the uranium enrichment plant in the U.S. is that it has a deal with Constellation Energy (Calvert Cliffs and others) to build a fleet of EPRs in the U.S. Those reactors will need nuclear fuel.

Details at Idaho Samizdat

Use the Google search box to find multiple blog entries over the past two years. Try "Areva Flamanville" and "Areva Finland" to get updates on the two plants actually under construction.