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Utah Bill designed for ratepayers to pay upfront for new nuclear reactors.

The bill is basically an admission that nuclear power plants are far too expensive, and far too risky an investment, to be bankrolled through the private capital market.

Nuclear speculation SB199 would shift risk to ratepayers, Salt Lake Tribune Feb 20 2013  When the ink isn’t even dry before the sponsoring lawmaker starts distancing himself from a bill he just introduced, the possibility of that bill becoming law seems remote indeed.

Which is good, because Sen. Curt Bramble’s SB199 is a horrible idea.

The bill, dropped in the hopper at the behest of developers who just won’t give up the foolish idea of building a nuclear power plant on Utah’s Green River, would take the extraordinary step of allowing a power utility to start charging its customers for certain generating stations long before the station is actually generating. And it would provide a loophole in the current law that requires utilities operating in the state to provide their customers with the cheapest power available.

The bill is basically an admission that nuclear power plants are far too expensive, and far too risky an investment, to be bankrolled through the private capital market. With no investors willing to put up the billions necessary for the long permitting and design process — which could lead to a dry hole — the backers of the proposed Blue Castle nuclear plant want Utah electric customers to fund their speculation.

Were the bill to pass, and were the Utah Public Service Commission to take every step the bill allows, Utah ratepayers could see large hikes in their monthly bills to pay for a nuclear power plant that may never get off the drawing board…..  The amount of water needed to cool the process threatens to make any plant built in Utah’s desert impractical at best. And we still haven’t figured out what to do with the spent fuel and other radioactive leavings.

If Utahns are so desperate for nuclear power that they would be willing to start paying billions for it before a plant has even won its permit, this is the chance for them to say so. Otherwise, this bill richly deserves the oblivion for which it is destined. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/55858779-82/bill-nuclear-power-plant.html.csp

February 21, 2013 - Posted by | politics, USA

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