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Duke Energy (finally) agrees: Levy County New Nukes Wrong Plan via NIRS

Ten years ago Duke (then, Progress Energy) began the idea of adding two nuclear reactors to the Nature Coast of Florida. Today, a billion dollars, and thousands of hours of volunteer and publicinterest staff time later, the proposal for Levy County Nuclear 1 & 2 is now, officially, dead. Duke Energy has arrived at a decision which confirms allegations by local environmental leaders for nearly a decade: the Levy County cypress swamps are a bad place to build a major industrial power generating site, let alone one capable of contaminating the pristine groundwater and freshwater springs of Levy County with radioactivity. Duke likely blames the debacle of its chosen reactor design, the AP1000, by the now bankrupt Westinghouse / Toshiba.

Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) Staff Biologist, Mary Olson, was recruited by the Levy leaders to help challenge the proposed site. “We celebrate every atom that will never become highly radioactive waste, and every Rem of dangerous radiation exposure that has now been prevented,” said Olson. NIRS was founded in 1978 by grassroots activists who oppose nuclear energy, including individuals who led pro se interventions on the first nuclear power reactor licenses under the Atomic Energy Act. Olson led pro se challenges of Duke Energy nuclear license extensions in North Carolina in 2001–2005.

NIRS formed a loose-knit coalition with the Ecology Party of Florida and others in 2008. Early in 2009 a license intervention was filed, raising multiple issues from impact on drinking water in Levy County, to climate impacts, and radioactive waste management. NIRS managed the administrative law process until 2012 when the grassroots effort had garnered sufficient local support to be able to hire noted nuclear licensing attorney, Diane Curran of Harmon, Curran and Spielberg.

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