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Ohio has a lovely new ANTHEM in praise of nuclear power

Ohio bill would create nonprofit to promote advanced nuclear research   Energy News Network, WRITTEN BY, Kathiann M. Kowalski 8Mar19,

Sponsors tout economic development potential, but critics question the benefits and risks to taxpayers.

A group of Ohio lawmakers wants to help make the state a leader in advanced nuclear technology, but some critics are questioning the benefits and potential risks to taxpayers under a new bill to promote research and development.

Ohio House Rep. Dick Stein, R-Norwalk, introduced the Advanced Nuclear Technology Helping Energize Mankind (ANTHEM) Act last week. The bill would set up a nonprofit Ohio nuclear development authority to promote advanced nuclear reactor technology, nuclear waste reduction, isotope extraction and related activities. It has 17 co-sponsors, all Republicans.

“The intent is to move the ball forward and make Ohio a leader in advanced reactor technology,” Stein said.

Nuclear watchdogs, though, said the bill would mostly benefit investors while shifting risk to the state. And it promotes pie-in-the-sky goals that distract and divert attention from more promising climate solutions, they said.

“HB 104 comingles military and civilian nuclear research and technology, would reprocess high-level radioactive waste in Ohio, and would allow for the commercial disposal of radioactive waste in our state, all in one poorly written package,” said Patricia Marida, chair of the Ohio Sierra Club Nuclear Free Committee.

……….The new entity created under the legislation would “have control in setting rules and writing standards” for activities related to advanced nuclear research, Stein said. The extent and terms would depend on how much authority the federal government was willing to delegate to the state.

Beyond that, a for-profit “consortium” company would be set up under the bill to carry out or fund research and development activities. The company’s initial offering would be 20 million shares of common stock at $50 per share.

………the bill would let the authority spend public money for its “essential governmental function and matters of public necessity.” And it could also acquire private property and use eminent domain. If contamination occurred on property owned by the state, it might be responsible for clean-up costs if other parties failed to pay or went bankrupt.

Beyond that, the bill would allow tax credits ranging up to 35 percent for investors in the company.

Turning a profit?

“If I was going to make investments anyway, I would look at it as being able to defer some of my tax costs,” said John Paul Morrow, a senior policy consultant for eGeneration Foundation, which would have a role in implementing the legislation. Ohio Secretary of State records show it’s a registered trade name for the Energy From Thorium Foundation. The nonprofit promotes scientific research into thorium for nuclear energy and is based in Cleveland.

The eGeneration Foundation’s website focuses more on the development of medical isotopes than on energy in its description of a proposed for-profit corporation and economic development authority similar to those outlined in HB 104. …….

The website for eGeneration describes a molten salt reactor, similar to a project operated at Oak Ridge National Laboratory back in the 1960s…….

“The idea that advanced reactors are going to save the day by helping to eliminate fossil fuels by 2050 is not realistic,” said Edwin Lyman, acting director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Nuclear Safety Project.

Most sources agree that commercial power plants with the new designs likely won’t be ready until the 2030s. And significant deployment likely won’t happen until at least the 2040s.

Bill sponsor Stein acknowledged it will be a while before advanced nuclear reactors are ready for the commercial energy market. He referred to the medical isotope angle as a way to provide revenue along the way.

Critics wonder why private or public investors would invest in speculative nuclear technology, as opposed to renewable energy, battery storage, electric vehicles or other technology that could produce profits in a shorter time frame.

“The commercial feasibility of any of this stuff is so far off in the future, it doesn’t represent a good use of our [research and development] resources,” said Tim Judson at the Nuclear Information & Resource Service.

He also worries about the bill’s provisions promoting recycling of high-level nuclear waste. Stein suggested that energy from spent fuel rods and retired nuclear plants “would power the United States for 700 to 900 years.”

“You’re uncorking the genie bottle on nuclear waste by reprocessing the irradiated fuel,” Judson said. “It’s just a really, really dirty process.”


March 9, 2019 - Posted by | spinbuster, USA

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