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Push for ”small nuclear power” in Colorado

Extract fromPueblo County wants to replace Comanche coal plant with nuclear power. Local activists are worried.The county’s coal-fired power plant could close 30 years earlier than anticipated, Colorado newsline, OCTOBER 29, 2021 ”……………….. With that likely early closure of Comanche 3  (coal-powered station) , some county leaders want a nuclear power station to replace that energy production and — crucially for them — the tax base. Pueblo consumers do not actually receive any of the power generated by Comanche. County leadership believe that so-called small modular reactors technology is the clean energy source that will be deployable by 2030, and they argue that the technology has become much safer since catastrophes like the Chernobyl meltdown………..

Activists worry that county leadership is being lured into an experimental and unsafe energy alternative. They called the July town hall “secretive” and accused county leaders of having these conversations behind closed doors.

“We are being targeted because the nuclear industry, including NuScale, has a campaign going on to place nuclear power plants in old coal fired power plants all over the country. We are the foot in the door,” Campbell said. “Our commissioners are not doing their homework, they aren’t looking into the risk … in my opinion, they are being made to feel like bigwigs by people in the nuclear industry and have fallen in love with themselves.”

“That’s the one that is probably able to move forward quicker — nuclear,” said Commissioner Chris Wiseman.

It would be the first nuclear power plant in Colorado since Fort St. Vrain Generating Station stopped generating power in 1989…………..

 Colorado isn’t completely sold on the idea yet, the nuclear option has been central to the conversation. In July, the county held a town hall with presenters from NuScale. Now, Wiseman is putting together a committee to look at possible alternative energy sources and hopes to have proposals before he retires from elected office at the end of next year. He leaves open the possibility that nuclear is not the answer, but rather some other emerging technology like green hydrogen……..

“Going through the neighborhoods and talking to people, it seems like people have just not been asked. When they are being used as sacrifice zones for these polluting industries that don’t serve them, no one comes and asks them,” said Giselle Herzfeld, a nonprofit organizer from Longmont who came down to Pueblo for the day of action.

Why nuclear instead of solar, wind?

Opponents of the nuclear idea want the county to more seriously consider replacing Comanche 3 with renewables such as solar, water or wind power.

“With all the creative thinking that exists in our community and around the state, I know we could come up with multiple ways of replacing that tax money,” said Pueblo activist Velma Campbell.

October 30, 2021 - Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA

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