The Iowa Legislature adjourned last week, but did not take action on a bill that would create a regulatory structure for MidAmerican Energy’s proposed nuclear power plant. Officials at the utility said they are reviewing their options.
“We are evaluating future options, and at this time it’s premature to speak in detail about those plans,” said Tina Potthoff, media relations manager for MidAmerican Energy. She said the company likely will hold internal meetings to decide how to proceed.”
MidAmerican has been exploring new technology in the field of nuclear power, including small modular units that, while less expensive than larger reactors, also produce less energy. The utility estimates that the new nuclear facility will cost between $1 billion and $2 billion.
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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.