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Nuclear Power to be hot topic in early part of legislative session. [View All]

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rurallib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-02-11 10:06 AM
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Nuclear Power to be hot topic in early part of legislative session.
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Just read this really well thought out piece on nuclear power.

"Word in Des Moines is that MidAmerican Energy lobbyists have convinced the Iowa Senates Democratic Leadership to move the nuclear power bill, House File 561 /Senate File 390, during the first week or two of the 2012 legislative session. This is the bill pertaining to nuclear power that was stalled during the 2011 session over public concerns. The idea is that by moving the bill early, Senators would have a clean slate, and proponents could get it done without a potential vote on it being held as a marker in the legislative bargaining that occurs every year. A simple truth is that because the bill is controversial, and 2012 is an election year, some of the 25 senators up for re-election would rather not vote on the bill at all. At the same time, a person hears a lot of things in Des Moines.

Why dont people like this bill? It has little to do with nuclear power itself.

To begin with, the bill reflects bad public policy. Building a nuclear power plant, or any power plant for that matter, would be a capital intensive activity. With all of the risks involved with a ten year nuclear reactor construction process, big banks dont want to finance them. What the bill does is take the most significant financial risks of building a nuclear reactor and transfer them to rate payers. This is called advanced cost recovery, although MidAmerican has been somewhat mercurial in what they say about costs. In theory, this would incentivize investors to furnish capital for a project. To do this, the bill dictates how the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) will consider a nuclear reactor application. While members of the IUB are political appointees, they should have the freedom to evaluate any form of electrical power generation on a level playing field. The bill gives nuclear a decided advantage and that makes it poor public policy."
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