Kottkamp goes nuclear with French energy company in Naples

 

By VICTORIA MACCHI

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

 

Clean and green were the key words Florida's Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp

used to describe the goals for the state's energy resources on Tuesday

night.

 

Filling in for Gov. Charlie Crist, Kottkamp flew in from Tallahassee

to speak for 10 minutes at a private event for French energy conglomerate Areva, which primarily deals in nuclear energy.

 

"There's no doubt about it, we talk about this in the governor's

office a lot," Kottkamp told the crowd of several hundred of the

company's employees. "Clean energy is important to Florida's future."

 

Crist will lead a trade and business initiative to Europe next month,

including visits to Areva's facilities in France. He made a similar

visit to Brazil last year to observe ethanol production.

 

"The governor, like me, is a proponent of nuclear energy. We believe

it may have an important role to play in Florida's energy future,"

Kottkamp said. "We must consider, as we continue to grow as a state,

how we address our growing energy needs while protecting that natural

beauty that draws so many people to the Sunshine State."

 

Areva, which has U.S. headquarters in Bethesda, Md., has industrial

operations in at least 40 countries. In early May, the company

announced plans for a uranium enrichment facility in Idaho.

 

Natural gas and coal are Florida's main sources of energy; there are

three nuclear plants in three locations in the state, operated by

Florida Power and Light and Progress Energy.

 

Through 2004, nuclear energy plants collectively generated about 15

percent of the state's energy, according to US Department of Energy

statistics.

 

Kottkamp said he and the governor are looking specifically at ways to

process nuclear waste in an environmentally sensitive way.

 

He also made note of the energy bill working its way through the

legislative process in Tallahassee now that could bring to fruition

several executive orders Crist signed last summer that intend to

reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, and

increase the use of renewable energy.

"Through our energy bill, we're looking at setting benchmarks for

ethanol production in Florida and for renewable energies; wind, solar,

you name it multiple pieces of the puzzle so we're not depending on

carbon," Kottkamp said.