A bill to incentivize construction of nuclear power plants will likely sail through the Iowa legislature, say supporters and opponents of the legislation.
Bills introduced for study in the commerce subcommittees of the Iowa House and Senate provide broad support for nuclear power. They also set up a regulatory mechanism that would allow regulated utilities in Iowa to begin charging customers for the cost of nuclear power facilities while they are under construction.
Plans from the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon dioxide emissions have breathed fresh life into the nation’s nuclear power industry, which saw little new construction for several decades until last year.
Currently, Iowa has just one nuclear power plant, 37-year-old Duane Arnold Energy Center near Palo.
The move has raised questions among environmental groups about the locations of future nuclear plants, and the extra costs that the measure might add to consumers’ energy bills, as Radio Iowa reports.
Additionally, as the Gazette reports, environmentalists worry about the nation’s lack of infrastructure for nuclear waste disposal, the energy consuming process of mining uranium to power the plants and the possibility that a shift to nuclear energy will sap momentum from Iowa’s other, safer renewable energy efforts – like Iowa’s booming wind industry.