Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thirty some-odd years ago, there was no such thing as Lake Anna, Virginia. It was created by Virginia Power as a cooling reservoir for a nuclear power plant. In an act of civic charity, the power company made the lake bigger than they needed, then segregated the water so the public could use the rest of the lake for recreation.
Dominion sculpted the lake for the North Anna nuclear plant from piney forests between Richmond and Charlottesville in the 1970s. Since then, Lake Anna has grown into a tourist attraction and a popular residential area.
About two-thirds of the lake - "the cool side" - is regulated as a public waterway and hosts a state park. The other third, separated from the main lake by earthen berms, is not.
Nice idea huh? The public gets clean, zero-carbon emission energy, and a state park to boot! Who could argue with such an arrangement? The luddite environmentalists, that’s who. They took Virginia Power to court and found a judge to take over the third of the lake used to cool the power plant.
The state for 30 years has wrongly allowed Dominion Virginia Power to discharge hot wastewater into Lake Anna from its nuclear power plant near Richmond, a judge has ruled. Environmentalists hailed the decision Friday by Richmond Circuit Court Judge Margaret P. Spencer. [...]

"This is huge," said Louis Zeller, science director for the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League. "We and lakeside residents have long believed that Dominion is guilty of thermal pollution." Such pollution, he said, threatens human health, property values and aquatic life.
Never mind that the human population, property values, and aquatic life are only there because Virginia Power created the lake in the first place!
"The cooling lagoons are private water bodies," Norvelle said. "The whole reason for building them was to cool the steam that creates electricity at the power station. We wouldn't have built them otherwise."
Let’s hope this one is overturned on appeal. We need more nuclear energy in this country, not less.


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