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November 15, 2008

California Pollution and the need for Nuclear Power and Renewables

1. Air pollution from fossil fuel use is costing California $28 billion per year and 3800 lives per year.

It increases healthcare costs and kills more people each year 3812 than 9/11.

2. The EPA's (Enviromental Protection Agency) recent decision, likely future decisions and President-elect Obama and the likely new federal energy plan will be killing coal over time. California will need to replace 16.6% of electricity (about 50 billion kwh) plus handle increased power needs from a growing population.

California's population is growing and energy demands will be increasing even with efforts at conservation and efficiency. Increased electricity demand will also come from more electric and hybrid cars. California will need more renewable power and more nuclear power.

3. Getting to 33% renewable energy sources by 2020 would cost California $60 billion.

4. $28 billion would buy 2 nuclear power plants even with the highest cost estimates, which would be saved by PGE not having to buy expensive spot market power. Uprating or expanding the current plants could be faster and more economical for initial expansion.

California's energy almanac shows the current energy situation.


California's total energy breakdown shows that renewable energy is still tiny.







Details on California Air Pollution
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified the South Coast Air Basin (SoCAB), which includes Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, as an extreme nonattainment area for ozone. The San Joaquin Valley Air Basin (SJVAB) also is designated an extreme nonattainment area for ozone. Both air basins are classified as serious nonattainment areas for PM2.5.

Between 2005 and 2007 ambient ozone levels in the San Joaquin Valley exceeded the health-based 8-hour National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) on from 112 to 139 days a year, while in the South Coast Air Basin exceedances occurred on from 115 to 120 days. Fine particulate levels would need to fall by more than 50% to meet the maximum 24-hour standard, and annual average concentrations need to drop by nearly
30%. "These health-based standards will be very difficult to achieve," the authors note.

Pollution sources in the two areas vary, but fuel combustion, including heavy-duty diesel truck exhaust, dominates both regions. Exposure to air pollution causes premature death, hospitalizations and respiratory symptoms, limiting a person's normal daily activity and increasing school absences and loss of workdays, said the researchers. The cost reflects the impact these health problems have on the
economy.

Each year, the life- and health-threatening levels of pollution cause the following adverse health effects for the two basins:

Premature deaths among those age 30 and older: 3,812
Premature deaths in infants: 13
New cases of adult onset chronic bronchitis: 1,950
Days of reduced activity in adults: 3,517,720
Hospital admissions: 2,760
Asthma attacks: 141,370
Days of school absence: 1,259,840
Cases of acute bronchitis in children: 16,110
Lost days of work: 466,880
Days of respiratory symptoms in children: 2,078,300
Emergency room visits: 2,800
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