First Major State Legislative Defeat for “Small Modular Reactors” in Iowa; Dismal Industry Showing in 2011 Follows Dismal 0-14 Combined Record for 2009 and 2010
Deep-pocketed nuclear power lobbyists may pack a big punch in Washington, D.C., but they are getting knocked out altogether at the state legislative level. So far in 2011, the nuclear power industry has a record of zero wins and six losses in Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.
The nuclear power industry’s dismal track record is in keeping with its history of state legislative failures in 2010 (when it went 0-8) and 2009 (0-6).
Sara Barczak, High Risk Energy Choices program director, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said: “Though many utilities, lawmakers and regulatory commissioners in the Southeastern U.S. continue to blindly support building new nuclear reactors that put ratepayers at risk, the public is growing ever more skeptical of nuclear power. Given the victories to stop these anti-consumer agendas nationally, including the temporary pull back in North Carolina, the tide may be turning. The fallout from Fukushima is yet to be fully known and likely will further erode the public’s acceptance of this high cost, high risk energy option.”
Ed Smith, safe energy coordinator, Missouri Coalition for the Environment, said: “Even before the ongoing Fukushima catastrophe, the nuclear power industry was failing in state legislatures across America. The reason is simple: Sensible people do not want to pay upfront for multi-billion dollar nuclear projects that will leave ratepayers and taxpayers as captive investors for an industry where construction delays and cost overruns are the norm.”
Christina Mills, staff scientist and policy analyst, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, said: “By working with our coalition partners both in and out of the legislature, we again successfully defended Minnesota’s 17 year old moratorium on new nuclear reactors. This law was originally enacted to protect Minnesotans from the high costs of building new reactors and the lack of a solution for radioactive waste – both issues which continue to persist today. We are also thankful to have a Governor who is standing firm with Minnesotans who want to preserve the nuclear moratorium and get on with building a renewable, efficient energy system in the state.”
The nuclear power industry’s many 2011 state legislative failures included:
* Minnesota – A heavily lobbied bill to overturn the state’s moratorium on additional reactors died in conference committee.
* Wisconsin – A push to reintroduce a bill to overturn the Badger State’s moratorium on new reactors failed.
* Kentucky – A bill to overturn the state’s moratorium on new reactors died in the House.
* Missouri – Despite a major industry push, a bill to charge utility customers in advance to pay for an “Early Site Permit” for the proposed new Callaway reactor died.
* North Carolina – A “Super Construction Work in Progress (CWIP)” bill to eliminate prudence review of CWIP expenses was proposed but never introduced due to strong on-the-ground opposition.
* Iowa – A bill pushed by MidAmerican to charge utility customers in advance for “small modular reactors” as well as potentially larger reactors stalled in the state Senate and cannot be taken up again until 2012.
In 2010, nuclear power lobbyists failed in legislative pushes in Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Vermont and West Virginia and Wisconsin. In 2009, the industry enjoyed no success whatsoever in its lobbying efforts in Kentucky, Minnesota, Hawaii, Illinois, West Virginia and Wisconsin.