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Iowa turns against nuclear power – and not to gas, but to renewables

Like with any energy source, burning natural gas should be considered in the context of its entire lifecycle. In that context, its greenhouse gas emissions are not much better than coal, if not worse,
depending upon the amount of methane leakage

Flag-USAIowa’s Campaign to Stop Nuclear Power, Blog For Iowa, August 7, 2013 | Author Paul Deaton Nuclear Neighborhoods: 11,000 Generations Prepared remarks delivered by Paul Deaton at the Iowa City Public
Library on the 68th Anniversary of Hiroshima, Aug. 6, 2013.

Well we held back new nuclear power in Iowa. Isn’t that great?

In February 2010, I wrote the first of a long series of posts on Blog
for Iowa about what I believed to be the legislature’s infatuation
with nuclear power during the last four sessions of the Iowa General
Assembly.   I wrote, “I heard the words ‘zero sum gain’ applied to
MidAmerican Energy’s process toward change for the first time. It
seems to fit. A zero sum gain is a situation in which a participant’s
gain or loss is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the other
participant(s). If the state wants to move forward with nuclear power,
it’s okay with MidAmerican Energy, but they are a business, so the
customers will have to pay.”

The customers will have to pay. That pretty much sums it up. What’s
missing is no one knew how much a new nuclear power plant would cost,
then, or now. For this and other reasons, the people of Iowa decided
there were better ways to generate electricity……..
As prices come down for wind and solar, distributed generation becomes
more viable, and could tilt what the regulated utilities do. The thing
is, how long can we wait to take CO2 emissions out of the mix? The
inconvenient truth is that we can’t wait.

Another thing to note is that while burning natural gas produces about
half the CO2 emissions compared to burning coal, the gain for the
environment is mitigated by methane leakage along the pathway from
extracting the gas to delivery at the power plant where it is burned.
Like with any energy source, burning natural gas should be considered
in the context of its entire lifecycle. In that context, its
greenhouse gas emissions are not much better than coal, if not worse,
depending upon the amount of methane leakage…………
In its current state, no privately held company in the United States
would take on the risks of nuclear power without significant
government and rate payer subsidies. Period. If they would, the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission is open for business, and accepting

When we talk about subsidies, first, there is the risk of disasters as
happened in Chernobyl and Fukushima. To encourage nuclear power, the
U.S. Government created the Price Anderson Act which puts a ceiling on
the losses that would be paid by a nuclear power plant owner in the
case of a similar disaster. You and I would pick up the excess costs
through our taxes.

Second, the Department of Energy owns and is responsible for nuclear
fuel throughout its life cycle. While nuclear power utilities charge a
small fee per kilowatt hour to help pay for disposal of their nuclear
waste, every power plant’s disposal costs are underfunded. This
underfunding is complicated by storage that could last for multiple

Any executive of a public utility, as a matter of personal competence,
would want to know how much building a new power plant would cost. In
the case of nuclear power, no engineer has a sharp enough pencil today
to accurately predict the costs. ……


August 8, 2013 - Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA

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