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Nuclear Power Construction Financed by Ratepayers? No Deal in Missouri

July 22, 2011

ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Advocates for clean, renewable energy are pointing to nuclear power financing plans turned down in recent months in Missouri and across the country, as examples of how the industry is too expensive and too volatile to meet the nation's energy needs.

Ed Smith, with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, says the Construction Work In Progress (CWIP) bill defeated this year would be for an Early Site Permit from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the amount of $45 million. The bill would have repealed a portion of a consumer protection law voters overwhelmingly passed in 1976, explains Smith.

"The 35-year-old 'No Construction Work In Progress' law has remained intact. You know, it remained intact at the closing of the 2011 legislative session here in May, without it being tampered with. That was a huge victory for consumers in Missouri."

Supporters of the CWIP bill want more debate on its funding. They say the bill would provide consumers a rebate if the plant is never built. It could come up during the special legislative session in September.

Along with Missouri, Smith says other State Legislatures have defeated nuclear measures this year: in Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

"Nuclear reactors aren't even in the conversation in several states – and in states where they are, they're being shot down by legislators that already know just the simple financing is an extreme risk, not to mention the volatile nature of nuclear power and the waste it generates."

Smith also notes renewed concerns about nuclear energy safety since the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster in March, and recent flooding threats to a plant in Nebraska.

Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO