Controversial nuclear bill revived

Duane Arnold Energy Center, Iowa's lone nuclear source.

A controversial bill that outlines steps for MidAmerican Energy to build a nuclear power plant in Iowa was revived and approved today by a Senate subcommittee.

The bill, House File 561, failed to advance through the Senate last year.

Critics were angered by the legislation’s sudden resurrection.

“The nuclear industry and MidAmerican Energy specifically would have us believe that nuclear power is clean, safe and cheap when in actuality it is very dangerous and expensive,” said Mike Carberry, an Iowa member of Friends of the Earth, an environmental group based in Washington, D.C.

Advocates of the bill argued that this legislation will help Iowa avoid a potential energy crisis by diversifying the state’s energy sources.

“This bill represents just another piece of that journey to create a more diverse energy sources for our citizens of the state of Iowa,” said John Gilliland, senior vice president of government relations of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry.

The bill will be considered by a full committee on Tuesday, and must pass both the Senate and the House before it can be signed by Gov. Terry Branstad.

For more information, read the full article at the Des Moines Register.

One thought on “Controversial nuclear bill revived

  1. I always find it amusing when self-declared environmentalists decry the cost of nuclear power, when they are the primary reason for the excess cost. Anti-nuclear activist groups have become adept at using the legal system to obstruct any nuclear power project every step of the way. Since the main cost of nuclear power is capital (fuel cost is small in comparison), time is money and delay raises cost.

    Regardless of the Fukushima situation and the scare tactics of groups like Greenpeace and FOE, nuclear power is very, very safe. (BTW, you may not know that Greenpeace was formed in the 70’s as a radical anti-nuclear splinter group from the Sierra Club, which was in favor of nuclear in California as environmentally preferable to building dams for hydroelectric power.) A European study called ExternE (External costs of Energy) assessed the full life-cycle risk of all major forms of power generation, from mining/transporting the fuel (if any), building the plant, emissions in normal operation, accidents, and decommissioning. They normalized the result in expected deaths per terawatt-hour produced.

    It may surprise you to learn that nuclear, even including Chernobyl, is comparable to wind and solar in safety, and 35 times safer than US/European coal power (400x on a world basis if we count China, whose coal mining practices and emissions controls are much worse than in the West). We could justify replacing coal generation with nuclear purely on a public-health argument, ignoring CO2 completely.

    Here is a much-expanded version of a talk I gave at my kids’ school for Earth Day after Fukushima, titled “A Rational Environmentalist’s Guide to Nuclear Power”:

    There are many peer-reviewed citations and readily checkable links.

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