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Push for nuclear power in Pueblo unlikely to succeed: renewables win favour.

Pueblo’s Comanche Coal Plant Is Closing Earlier Than Expected. Is Its Future With Nuclear, Or Renewables? CPR News,  By Miguel Otárola, September 13, 2021  ”………………. Faced with a shortened deadline, Pueblo’s leaders are plotting what the city will look like when it loses the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Colorado — and a significant source of local tax revenue.

County commissioners are excited about the potential of generating nuclear energy in the community. Other leaders, including Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar, are banking on other ways to power the local economy. 

“There’s no reason why Pueblo can’t be the renewable energy capital of the world,” Gradisar said.

……… Researchers say Pueblo is already moving in this direction, much of that due to Xcel’s expiration dates for Comanche.

2019 study by the Colorado School of Mines suggested the city’s shift to solar and wind could lower electricity costs and bring more private investment and jobs to Pueblo.

One of those projects is currently underway. Workers are installing hundreds of rows of solar panels on a wide expanse of land just south of the Comanche plant.

There have been previous attempts to bring nuclear to Pueblo, but safety was and still is a concern for many……..  Don Banner, a local attorney in 2011 had come to the county with plans to build a nuclear power plant on the outskirts of town.  …  Banner said his [nuclear] proposal attracted resistance from local residents and out-of-state protestors. The county board voted against the project a month after a nuclear plant was destroyed in an earthquake and tsunami in Fukushima, Japan.

There are other roadblocks — namely, a lack of political support and the cost.

Other Pueblo leaders are cautious of nuclear power.

Gradisar said he is worried the plant wouldn’t provide any electricity to Pueblo, similar to the current arrangement with Xcel at Comanche.

State Rep. Daneya Esgar, who represents the area, called it “an idea of a few” and hoped it wouldn’t gain traction……

Nuclear energy faces another practical hurdle: The cost. Nuclear plants cost billions of dollars to build, with costs rising as safety standards have tightened. 

Banner, now 76, said the only way to make nuclear energy a reality in Pueblo is strong political support. It didn’t exist when he pitched his plan 10 years ago, and he questioned whether it exists now….

September 14, 2021 - Posted by | business and costs, USA

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